By APD writer Ishwar Khanal
The year 2018 has not been very encouraging -- sans a few promising tasks -- with people's high hopes being shattered with the snail-paced development efforts on the part of the government – considered as one of the most powerful governments in Nepal's history.
Nepalese people – accustomed to political upheavals and twists and turns in the past – felt a sigh of relief this year in terms of political stability with the formation of a new government led by incumbent Prime Minister K P Oli on February 15, 2018. People were hopeful about 'big changes' in the first few months after the formation of the PM Oli-led government. However, their hopes started to crumble before the government could complete its honeymoon period. The Oli-led government failed to deliver as it had promised. The market price skyrocketed, development works seemed to be moving at a snail's pace.
However, there were some developments, which Nepalese could cherish. For instance, Nepalese national cricket team secured its spot in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier by defeating Canada on February 14.
A month later on March 12, the happiness converted into shock when a US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211, carrying 67 passengers and 4 crew crashed during landing in Kathmandu killing 51 on board.
Similarly, on March 13, Nepal re-elected Bidhya Bhandari as the country's President for the second term while the next day on March 14, Nepal saw another twist when the Judicial Council removed Chief Justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli from office citing his failure to retire on 21 August 2017 due to his age bar.
In 2018, Nepal also saw a number of high-level visits, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to this Himalayan country when he flew to Mustang to worship at the Muktinath Temple. Prior to that, on April 6, Nepal's Prime Minister K P Oli embarked on a state visit to India.
Meanwhile, the country witnessed another air crash when a cargo flight belonging to Makalu Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan crashed in Nepal's remote north-west district of Humla killing 2 crew members on May 16. Likewise, Nepal saw another helicopter crash on September 8 when an Altitude Air chopper crashed in the district of Nuwakot, adjoining Kathmandu, killing 6 of the 7 people on board.
On June 19, Nepal's Prime Minister K P Oli embarked on a six-day official visit to China upon the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. During his visit, Nepal signed a number of important agreements, including transit treat with China. PM Oli also held talks with Chinese side and made a comprehensive review of bilateral relations.
Meanwhile, the rape and murder of a thirteen-year-old girl Nirmala Pant of Nepal's far-western district of Kanchanpur on July 27, led to nationwide protests. The protests were so violent that the administration had to clamp a curfew to contain the crowd. The government's failure to arrest those involved in the incident has led to several protests in Kathmandu and elsewhere.
Likewise, Nepal hosted the fourth summit of BIMSTEC in Kathmandu on August 30-31 in 2018.
On October 13, the death of five South Korean climbers and four Nepali guides, who were planning to climb the Gurja Himal, in an avalanche shocked the nation. Meanwhile, the country witnesses several road accidents claiming the lives of dozens of people.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)