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NC, UML at odds over validating Reconstruction Authority

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 4, 2015-

The ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are at odds over tabling a new bill in Parliament to replace the ordinance that formed the National Reconstruction Authority.

After the government failed to come up with a bill to replace the ordinance within two months of the House session commencement, the Authority has gone into ‘hibernation’.

Two ministers representing the NC and the UML told the Post that they were discussing ways to end the standoff over the authority and duties of the body.

The opposition UCPN (Maoist), which opposes the bill, has urged the government to correct some of the provisions and empower the authority. The UML also wants some clauses of the ordinance revised to limit the rights of the prime minister in the Authority and to give its technical team more power and responsibilities.

In the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake, the government announced the creation of the Authority and allocated Rs91 billion for it in the budget later. The delay in making the Authority functional has deferred rebuilding and rehabilitation works while thousands of people have been homeless for over

four months.

“The political leadership should not supersede its powers. The Authority should get more autonomy in decision-making,” said a UML minister.

As per the Interim Constitution, the ordinance remains valid for 60 days from the commencement of the Parliament session. The period has already passed but the ordinance has yet to be replaced by a bill to validate the formation of the body and the appointment of its CEO.

It is sheer negligence by the Prime Minister’s Office, said a senior official privy to the developments. “There are some concerns from the UML. We are trying to clear them,” said Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal. Minister for General Administration Lalbabu Pandit, a UML member, said he was not aware of the developments.

When the government tried to register the bill, the UCPN (Maoist) objected saying that it had been delayed. After the Maoist objection, Speaker Subas Nembang had removed it from the agenda.

Maoist leaders told Nembang that the government should bring a new replacement bill, after Cabinet’s approval, against the ordinance.

On Thursday, Maoist leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Ram Narayan Bidari and Chief Executive Officer of the Authority Govind Pokhrel held a meeting in the Speaker’s chamber.

In the meeting, Maoist leaders said the bill should be amended as the body is dominated by the PM, ministers and top bureaucrats and has little power.

“We have no objection to the CEO appointment but the concentration of  authority on the PM and ministers makes us doubt its efficiency,” Maoist leaders told the meeting.

Published: 04-09-2015 08:29

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