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Title:Healing the Himalayas: Proposal of Strategy, Technology and Finance for Post-Earthquake Recovery, Reconstruction and Renaissance in Nepal
Author:Dipak R. Pant
Publisher:Universita Carlo Cattaneo
Remarks:Colour Photographs, Tables, Chart, Reference and Acknowledgments.
Size:290 x 250 mm
Disasters, natural or human-induced, not only incur huge human or material loss but also provide an opportunity for the reconstruction and re-engineering of the society, infrastructure, policy and economy.
However, it seems that the same is not happening in Nepal's case. Apart from government and reconstruction agencies' parroting of 'build back better', there has been no practical implementation of better policies, economic reforms and social engineering.
In such a scenario, a Nepali anthropologist and economist at the LIUC, Italy Prof. Dr. Dipak R. Pant, in collaboration with 23 experts of economics, architecture, social economy, sociology, geology, journalism and other sectors, has come up with a book – 'Healing the Himalayas: Proposal of Strategy, Technology and Finance for Post-earthquake Recovery, Reconstruction and Renaissance in Nepal'. Unlike many other books by economists and sociologists, this book makes an in-depth analysis of the situation and offers pragmatic solutions to various social and economic maladies.
Although the book's primary focus is post-quake reconstruction, it deals with several topics ranging from land safety, livelihood structures, sustainable energy, wireless connectivity, sustainable waste management, foreign assistance and self-reliance to public finance strategy and re-positioning Nepal in global public opinion and international market.
The book advocates for reducing human vulnerability, motivating government workers, and retaining the existing workforce, recalling the migrants, developing and consolidating local human capital as the fundamental pre-requisites for the economic progress of the country. Interestingly, the writer suggests for legalizing cannabis or hemp calling it a great source for substantial and steady stream of revenues. Cannabis grows in almost every livable and cultivable area in Nepal – from less than 300 metres to 3000 metres above sealevel – and it serves many purposes such as industrial (construction, paper, fiber, textile), medical and pharmaceutical, cosmetic (cream, oil) and recreational (used as smoke, vapour, herbal drink or sweet).
According to the book, cannabis seed can be used to make medicine, personal care products, animal feed, flour, food ingredient, beer, cooking oil, paint and fuel. Its stalk can be used to make hats, clothes, bags, biomass, insulator, paper, ropes and bricks while plant is used for greenery of the landscape, soil conservation and purification and carbon sink. Similarly, leaf is useful in making smoke, herbal tea, medicine, food ingredient and compost fertilizer.
Dr. Pant blames the Nepali rulers for outlawing cannabis due to the pressure from the western countries. In 1960s and 70s, Nepal was a perfect 'another world' - polytheist, colourful, exotic, relaxed, cool, beautiful, poor but cheerful and dignified people sans antagonism or sense of inferiority vis-à-vis the Westerners. The cannabis, that was freely and easily available, was one of the major attractions.
The book presents the impact of cannabis in the economy, production module, job creation, tax and saving police cost. Pant says that after legalizing cannabis, crime decreased by about 3 per cent in Colorado, a state in the USA, and concludes that its legalization did not seem to have impacted negatively in the law and order situation.
The book has dozens of practical suggestions to reposition Nepal in global public opinion and world market, cut tax and implement sustainable public finance strategy, apply sustainable energy and waste management measures, and create wireless connectivity.
"Thinking beyond post-disaster recovery, our small interdisciplinary team has tried to offer some ideas concerning long-term solutions for the Nepalese people, particularly those in the rural highlands, who are constrained by structural (in-built) marginality, and have suffered not only the 2015 earthquake, but also a number of other socio-economic problems.
One of the most serious problems, in the past decades, has been the massive erosion of human capital due to an inexorable outbound migration of young and adult workforce pushed away by poverty at home," reads the prologue to the book.
The book comes with high quality pictures, maps, graphics and illustrations which have increased its readability. The book may specially be useful for policy makers, economists and students.
(Published in The Rising Nepal, Friday Supplement on 30 June 2017)