'Nepal PM puts off Europe tour amid power crisis' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Nepal PM puts off Europe tour amid power crisis'

Nepal's beleaguered Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda has postponed a European visit because of a crippling electricity crisis and other problems facing the Himalayan nation, an aide said on Thursday.

world Updated: Jan 15, 2009 16:28 IST

Nepal's beleaguered Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda has postponed a European visit because of a crippling electricity crisis and other problems facing the Himalayan nation, an aide said on Thursday.

The Nepali capital has seen almost daily anti-government protests since the state-run Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) began nearly 16 hours of daily power cuts, saying demand for power had outstripped supply.

Journalists and rights activists have also been protesting against the killing at the weekend of a female radio reporter by unidentified assailants in Nepal's troubled southeastern plains region.

"The prime minister thought why go on a visit now when the country is facing a crisis," Prachanda's spokesman Om Sharma told Reuters.

"There is now a crisis of load shedding, killings and other problems which needs to be resolved and the prime minister thinks he should be in Kathmandu."

Prachanda was scheduled to go on a week-long trip of Norway and Finland on Saturday, his first European tour since being elected to head a coalition government.

In August, Prachanda drew criticism for travelling to China for the Olympics closing ceremony, departing from a tradition that has seen new government leaders make India their first foreign port of call.

He visited New Delhi in September after the Beijing tour.

"The visit has just been postponed and fresh dates for the tour will be decided later," Foreign Ministry spokesman Suresh Pradhan said.