Nepal unrest delays launch of South Asian corporate centre

Published on May 09, 2004 08:14 PM IST

Political instability in Nepal has delayed the launch of the South Asian Alliance for Responsible Business (SARB), a private initiative planned to nurture social responsibility in for Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives.

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PTI | BySudeshna Sarkar (Indo-Asian News Service), Kathmandu

Political instability in Nepal has delayed the launch of the South Asian Alliance for Responsible Business (SARB), a private initiative planned to nurture social responsibility in the corporate sector.

SARB, with its secretariat in Kathmandu, was to have been launched on April 17.

However, with Nepal's five major opposition parties having started an indefinite anti-government campaign from April 1 and with the Maoist guerrillas calling a three-day strike earlier during the month, the launch was postponed.

Talks for the setting up of such a centre for Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives began as early as 2001 when the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together with the New Delhi-based NGO Partners in Change organised a meet on corporate social responsibility.

Since then, the chambers of commerce of the seven countries have started networking to set up a centre that would also impart training in anti-corruption initiatives and global alliances and would be a one-stop source for technical support as well as research.

Since relations between India and Pakistan were far from cordial at that time, it was decided the SARB secretariat would be set up on a neutral location acceptable and accessible to all the member countries.

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on whose premises the secretariat is to be located, also cancelled its programme on the annual Industry and Commerce Day.

The launch is now being rescheduled for the first week of August.

But with fresh rumours doing the rounds in the capital that King Gyanendra may replace the Surya Bahadur Thapa government with a new one headed by former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, whose sacking in October 2002 triggered the opposition unrest, it might take some time for the turmoil in Nepal to subside.

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