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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05KATHMANDU2814 2005-12-15 11:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

SUPREME COURT ORDER SHOULD IMPROVE ENVIRONMENT

Tags:   SENV ECON EIND KJUS NP 
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1. (U) On December 9, the Supreme Court issued a directive
order to His Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMGN) to enforce
environmental laws regulating brick kilns in the Kathmandu
Valley. The directive order instructed that representatives
from the Ministry of Science and Environment, Ministry of
Industries and Commerce, and the NGO Pro-Public (who filed
the litigation) form a committee to deliver a report to the
Supreme Court within six months. The committee should
recommend how to curb kiln pollution and detail progress on
whether kilns were either upgraded to environment friendly
technology or were closed down. The Supreme Court would then
direct HMGN to implement recommendations made by the
committee under the observation of the monitoring unit of the
Supreme Court.

GOVERNMENT HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCING EXISTING LAWS


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2. (SBU) The Industrial Enterprises Act contains
environmental provisions and requires brick kilns to register
and acquire a license. Rather than comply with environmental
laws outlined in the Act, most brick kiln owners in the
Kathmandu Valley operate without the required license and
instead pay annual fines to HMGN of approximately USD 1,400.
Raju Prasad Chapagain, the Pro-Public attorney, explained
that under section 25 of the Industrial Enterprises Act, HMGN
was supposed to close all illegally (unregistered) operated
kilns. Chapagain stated that the Act required legal
(registered) kilns to operate with environment friendly
technology. He said there were more illegal than legal brick
kilns operating in the Kathmandu Valley, contributing to
Kathmandu's pollution problem.

CASE LAWYER MILDLY OPTIMISTIC FOR CHANGE


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3. (C) Chapagain told Emboff that while the Supreme Court
decision was a positive development, the legal process to
implement real change would be slow. Chapagain opined that,
given the current political climate in Nepal, he was doubtful
that HMGN would fully implement the directive order. He
noted that while the full text of the court decision would
not come out for several weeks, Pro-Public would soon send
letters to appropriate HMGN officials proposing the formation
of the committee outlined in the Court's directive order.

COMMENT


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4. (SBU) The enforcement of environmental protection laws in
Nepal has a mixed history. That Pro-Public engaged the
Supreme Court and got a positive decision to enforce
environmental provisions is a good step, but implementation
might be slow and problematic.
MORIARTY