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Tourism News & Highlights

Kathmandu Being Beautified for SAARC Summmit

 The SAARC summit is slated to take place in Kathmandu from 22 to 27 November‚ 2014. The Sanitation and City Decoration Committee Kathmandu has taken an active initiation to beautify and maintain greenery in the city in view of the upcoming 8th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.

The committee, which has been formed in the coordination of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development, Prakash Man Singh, is accountable for grooming Kathmandu into a 'clean and green' city.

Keeping the SAARC Summit in mind, the committee has already initiated its first phase task covering Maitighar to Tinkune, Lainchaur-Narayangopal Chok, Sheetal Niwas, Jawalakhel, Kamalpokhari, Maitidevi Chok among others.

Rastriya Sabha Griha, which is the main venue for the regional Summit, is also undergoing renovation and a facelift.

 

The government has divided preparatory works into logistical and substantive parts. Logistical parts include preparation of venue, procurement of vehicles, decoration of the city and security and ceremonial arrangements. Substantive aspects include finalising the theme and agenda of the Summit and preparing the declaration and other documents.

Acting Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi said both logistical as well as substantive preparations were moving ahead smoothly. However, he admitted that given the time constraints, the logistical aspect of preparatory works was ‘a challenge’.

An advisory committee last week had recommended that ‘Connectivity for Shared Prosperity’ should be the theme of the Summit. But the government is yet to take a decision.

Nepal as the host country should draft and finalize a slew of documents which will be tabled during various sessions of the Summit.

A senior MoFA official said currently the ministry was busy drafting the declaration to be announced by eight heads of state/ government.

The government is also yet to decide on arrangement of at least seven bullet-proof vehicles to be used by participating heads of state/governments.

MoFA is mulling over three possible options: hiring them from private firms, procuring them or seeking assistance from friend countries —probably China and/or India.

“But procuring option is over, given the time limit,” Bairagi said. “We are discussing other two options. We will finalise the issue in about two weeks.”

According to MoFA Spokesperson Khaga Nath Adhikari, the government is buying 24 sedans for participating VIPs and the procurement process has already begun. Supplementary vehicles will be arranged from private firms, hotels and other government offices.

Renovation of the City Hall, where the main Summit will convene, has also started.

Sources said, stay of all seven participating heads of state/government will be arranged at Hotel Soaltee. For the delegates, other five-start hotels will be arranged.

Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Pakistan and Presidents of Afghanistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka will be attending the Summit.

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