Cong MPs tour Nepal without meeting troubled Indian JVs, flood victims

September 8th, 2008 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 8 (IANS) A team of five parliamentarians from India’s ruling Congress party wound up their junket to Nepal Monday without meeting the two big Indian joint ventures which have been in deep labour trouble for over a week now, as well as hundreds of Indians languishing in flood relief camps in Nepal.Led by K.K. Rao, the team included Alka Balram Kshatriya and Ratna Bai, members of the upper house Rajya Sabha, and two MPs from Lok Sabha, the lower house - S. Sathyanarayana and Jhansi B. Lakshmi.

Accompanied by family members, the Indian MPs stayed at the five-star Yak and Yeti hotel in Kathmandu.

During their five-day trip, supposedly undertaken to improve the Congress party’s links with civil society in Nepal, the team did not meet officials of Dabur Nepal, Dabur India’s wholly owned subsidiary, that has suffered a loss of millions of rupees with the Maoist trade union shutting down the company’s factory in Rampur village in southern Bara district since Aug 31.

Despite talks with the labour minister and government officials, the Dabur closure continues even as there are just six days left for new Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s visit to India, when he is expected to urge further investment in Nepal.

The Congress team has also not met officials of United Telecom Ltd, Nepal’s first private company to start telephone services.

UTL, whose major stakeholders are MTNL, VSNL and TCIL, is under siege from employees hired by a third-party contractor, who are demanding permanent and direct jobs at UTL.

The labour union calling the protest is affiliated to former Nepali prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress (NC) party.

Before the historic election in Nepal in April, another Congress delegation had visited Kathmandu to express support for the NC as well as the ongoing peace process.

During their five-day sojourn, the Indian MPs also did not get time to visit relief camps in Sunsari district along the Indo-Nepal border where over 2,000 Indians who lost their homes because of the floods caused by the Kosi river have been taking shelter.

There is an outbreak of diarrhoea in the camps with over 17 people having died.

At a press conference in the capital Monday, Rao said the team came now because they could not make it ahead of the election.

He also said the visit was intended to strengthen people-to-people ties between India and Nepal.

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