Nepali waterways confined into policy talk waiting for laws « Khabarhub
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Nepali waterways confined into policy talk waiting for laws


23 July 2019  

Time taken to read : 7 Minute


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KATHMANDU: While campaigning during the last elections, incumbent Prime Minister K P Oli had promised to sail Nepalese Waterlines in oceans all around the world. It was his campaign trick to lure the voters to grab their voters.

However, Nepalese people believed in his pole rhetoric and began to imagine Nepalese ships crisscrossing the oceans with goods and passengers loading and unloading at every notable harbor of sea-borne countries.

It became the talk of the town as pan-shops, eateries, educational institutions, social sites, drawing rooms and all other formal and informal were abuzz with Nepalese ships sailing in no time to come.

Nepalese voters saw a great visionary leader in Oli who they considered will turn the fate of Nepal once voted into power. They generously voted for him. K. P. Oli is now the Prime Minister — the executive head of the country.

It was the year 2073 BS when Oli declared to introduce Nepalese waterlines in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. It is year 2076 BS at present. The talk of the Nepalese waterlines — branded ships in the Pacific Ocean has not subsided it.

The imagery is still alive in every Nepalese mind. It is because poverty-stricken Nepal saw a country rowing in prosperity away from the day to day drudgery that they pull themselves through for meeting their bare essentials of life.

They imagined Nepal flag fluttering on the mast of Nepalese ships — feeling proud to be the citizens of a country that owns scores of waterlines sailing across the world touching the shores of countries in every continent of the world. Nepalese ships sailing across in no time became the symbol of development and prosperity of the country.

At the same time, the inability of Oli in this direction has also generated laughter, jokes and innuendos providing handy subject-matter of art and creativity for writers, cartoonists, artistes, comedians and not to forget politicians in opposition party(ies) leaving no moment to launch a scathing attack on the Prime Minister for his failure.

This is the second time K.P. Oli is holding the post of Prime Minister. In his first stint as Prime Minister, K. P. Oli had shown the dream of sailing Nepalese ships in the Pacific Ocean to credulous people of Nepal.

In his second stint, Prime Minister Oli reminded the nation on Asar 14 last year that his government is seriously engaged in home-work to launch Nepalese ships in the Pacific Ocean as soon as possible. PM Oli was so confident on his dream-project of Nepalese waterlines rowing in Pacific that he invited all those interested to cruise to land in the upcoming Nepalese cruisers in a public meeting on Poush 16 in Hanumannagar, Saptari district.

Poush 16 has gone past, Nepalese ships are still a dream. Just in a course of the discussion, PM Oli even inaugurated the Nepal Shipping Office to manage and organize the cruising ships across the Pacific and Indian Oceans in Ekantkuna, Lalitpur on Phalgun 2, 2075. He didn’t himself from saying, ”A door has been opened for the development of a country and a Nepalese ships to sail.”

Nepal has till today only managed to have connectivity through road and airways. Waterways is new project — definitely an ambitious project to bring it into reality. A question is doing the round among the citizens of Nepal: Where is a ship when an office of shipping is functioning in Nepal? Politicians from opposition parties have picked up this issue to launch an attack on the ruling party headed by the PM Oli himself.

Cabinet decision taken on last Poush 30 had duly decided to set up the Nepal Shipping Office under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation and appointed 16 officials to effect the work of the office. A total of 5 months have gone by after the office of Nepalese waterlines was inaugurated.

A Senior Division Engineer Bipin Raj Bhandari working in the said office said, ”We are studying the old laws dealing with the ships, ocean rules, and other related areas in order to come out with contemporary up-to-date laws on the subject matter.” A month and a half after the office was inaugurated, Rishiraj Koirala was appointed as Registrar.

The waterways office of Nepal confirms that vigorous exercise is on for the last 4 months in order to bring up a law on the subject. Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada, the finance minister, has assured the Nepalese citizens as he declared while presenting a financial bill for the year 2076/77 that work is in progress to make water transport a reality both outside and inside the country. Necessary physical infrastructure is to be soon built to utilize rivers like Koshi and Narayani for domestic water transportation.

The Nepal Shipping Office prepared a proposal containing 27 important points and sent the same to Ministry of Transportation, Government of Nepal, says Bhandari while talking to Khabarhub.

Among those 27 points are the rules and regulation to be applied on boats, steamers, technical knowledge, physical infrastructure, ships of different capacity and so on. It also relates to Nepalese ships registered here with us sailing in different oceans. The office is waiting for the 27-points proposal getting accepted by the concerned ministry to resume the work further.

Two corporate companies from abroad have shown their interest to run the Nepalese waterlines, says the Senior Division Engineer of Nepalese Waterlines Office located in Ekantkuna, Lalitpur.  Even the Nepalese companies have expressed their wish to run, manage and operate the water transport of Nepal, confirms Bhandari.

The office is preparing all the rules and regulations relating to management and operation of water transportation. Therefore, these companies have to wait a bit longer before they are intimated whether or not they have been selected for managing water transport. Before Nepal launches the ships in the Pacific Ocean, the country can utilize her own rivers across the country for domestic water transportation.

At present Nepal has around 10,000 boats and steamers of different size and capacity rowing across the rivers throughout the country. The Nepalese office of waterlines is planning to register all these boats and steamers in its own file to organize the matter.

Publish Date : 23 July 2019 09:42 AM

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