By Usha Wagle Gautam
The Nepalese embassy organised a programme to welcome former Nepalese prime minister (PM) Jhalanath Khanal at the ambassador’s residence recently. The programme was attended by former PM’s secretary Yogendra and Charge de Affairs Mani Ratna Sharma, along with other distinguished community leaders.
The programme included a Q&A session with Khanal. Rekha Rai, president of Nepalese Women Society, asked Khanal how long Nepalese women would have to come overseas for jobs. Another participant, Hussein Khan, president of Terai Madhesh Democratic Front-Qatar, said Nepalese in Qatar were united, while those in Nepal are divided on the base on ethnicities.
TB Karki, adviser of Non-Resident Nepalese Association-International Coordination Committee (NRNA-ICC), expressed his dissatisfaction with not having a Nepalese ambassador in Qatar for over two years now. “How long do we have to wait?” Karki said. He also pointed out the slow consular services offered by the Nepalese embassy, especially when compared to other embassies.
NRNA-ICC member Binod Bhattarai talked about the mismanagement of Tribhuwan International Airport at Kathmandu and the “maltreatment of migrant workers” there.
Binesh Tamang, president of Non-Resident Nepalese Association-National Coordination Council (NRNA-NCC), said his organisation is serious and keen to co-ordinate with the embassy and build a cultural centre and a community fund in Qatar. He said they want to attract tourists from Qatar to Nepal and import Nepalese products here.
Dr Dev Kaji Dangol, patron of NRNA-NCC, said there is an urgent need of setting up a Napalese school in Qatar.
Guru Narayan Ranabhat, NRNA-NCC advisor, complained about the manpower companies in Nepal extorting huge sums of money from the workers despite the fact that Qatari companies themselves pay for visas and airfare of the workers.
Ram Hari Gaire, president of Nepalese Overseas Forum, talked about the plight of Nepalese people who are still unable to acquire gasoline even after the lifting of the unofficial blockade.
Charge de Affairs Mani Ratna Sharma said his office is doing its best to assist every Nepali expatriate in Qatar. Even though the embassy has enough staff, he said, low finances hamper their services.
In response to the various points raised, former PM Khanal said everyone should love their country wherever they go. He insisted that Nepal has had some “historical achievements” despite the various adversities it has faced.
He said that the recently promulgated statute of the Himalayan nation treats every citizen equally irrespective of caste, gender, religion and ethnicity. “The recent blockade has inspired us to become independent,” Khanal said.
He hinted that two international airports are being established in the western town of Pokhara and Lumbini, Lord Buddha’s birthplace. He also stressed on the role of the embassy in strengthening bilateral ties between Qatar and Nepal.
He hoped that Nepal will appoint an ambassador to Qatar soon, after resolving the “technical difficulties” it is facing.
The manpower agencies in Nepal that have been extorting money from Nepalese going abroad are being shut down, he said, which demonstrates the seriousness with which the government is dealing with the issue.
He thanked Qatar for hosting more than 400,000 Nepalese and urged the expats here to strictly follow rules and regulations of the host country.
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