The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu issuing a press statement June 25, 2010 said that the Embassy has already taken needed steps to try and resolve the issue of holding some 978 Metric Tons of newsprint purchased by the Kantipur Publications from Canada and South Korea at the Calcutta port in India for some 29 plus days.
The Embassy statement also blames the Kantipur Publications for providing the issue undue publicity and claims that it was just a routine administrative matter.
Nevertheless, the Kantipur Daily claims, dated June 26, 2010, that after a meeting between the Kantipur Management led by its chairman and managing director Mr. Kailash Sirohiya and the Indian Ambassador Mr. Rakesh Sood, the embassy had ordered the release of 11 Containers of total 39 being held at Calcutta port containing the newsprint.
The ambassador during the meeting also told the delegation that the remaining containers after a routine custom examination shall be released by Monday June 28, 2010.
“Mr. Sirohiya has assured full cooperation on the part of Kantipur Publications in order to enable resolution of the matter at the earliest”, the embassy statement also reveals.
Similarly, Mr. Kailash Sirohiya issued a press statement after his meeting with the Indian envoy wherein he has hoped that in the future India will allow smooth flow of newsprint as it was imported as per the transit facility under the Transit Treaty between the two countries.
Independent observers however, claim that if Ambassador Sood was at the helm of entire affair and his lone decision was enough to release the consignment from Calcutta why the Kantipur management did not meet the Indian Ambassador earlier and settled the issue without much hullaballoo? Or, was it done in private but deliberately kept a guarded secret?
In the negotiation between Kantipur management with the Indian envoy that took place without the involvement of Nepal government representatives has made the issue more suspicious in that the publications had earlier claimed that the holding of consignment by the Indian authorities had become a matter of National interest and sovereignty.
“In the entire episode, Kantipur has quite successfully portrayed that it was stronger than the State itself and the Indian government representatives in Kathmandu by holding a “private” negotiation with a corporate body has shown that it can go to any low, ignoring even the pride of their motherland”, claim observers.
In the mean time, a weekly newspaper claimed on Friday that the Kantipur Publications and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu were not in good terms for quite some time now.
The Nepali Patra weekly claims quoting sources that, “The holding of Kantipur Newsprint consignment is just a small segment of the feud that exists between the Publication house and the Indian mission in Nepal.”
“The cold war between the two began with Kantipur presumably favoring the Maoist’s version of Nepali Nationalism” the weekly claims and adds, “The Indian Multinational Company Dabur-Nepal, has already decided not to provide any advertisements to the Publications.”
With the Kantipur forcefully raising the controversial decision of Nepal government to award printing rights of MRP (Machine Readable Passports) to India and its security implications, the Indian administration had become furious towards Kantipur and perhaps wanted to teach a befitting lesson.
“As the relationship continued to deteriorate, the Publication house sent its two senior representatives to New Delhi last month”, the report continues.
Mr. Sudhir Sharma, Chief Editor Kantipur Vernacular Daily and Mr. Akhilesh Upadhya, Chief Editor The Kathmandu Post English Daily held discussion with the Indian authorities in New Delhi. But, they failed miserably in their mission, the weekly also discloses.
“In the meantime, the Indian Embassy had been asking Kantipur Publications to come forward with a concrete plan to improve relations but with the media creating hullaballoo over the holding of newsprint consignment, the Embassy has become even furious”, the report also declares.