Local units addition in consensus: Govt

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 28, 2017-

The government has initiated dialogue with the opposition CPN-UML and leaders of the Madhes-based parties after its decision to increase the number of local federal units in 11 Tarai districts led to obstruction of Parliament.

Federal Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa assured the UML on Thursday that the local units will be added in consensus with all the parties.

Separately, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal met Madhesi leaders to clarify that the government had not changed its decision to add the units in 11 Tarai districts.

In a consultation meeting with leaders from the UML and the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, DPM Thapa asked officials from the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to set criteria in two days for increasing the numbers. Ministers from the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) were also present in the meeting.

In the meeting with the PM in Baluwatar, RJP-N leaders sought clarification about the government’s decision to withdraw the circular sent to the districts to work on new local units.

Dahal is learnt to have clarified that the government had only withdrawn the circular but not changed its decision to create new bodies. On Wednesday, Dahal had agreed to annul the notice sent to the 11 districts—eight in Province 2 and three in Province 5.

Following strong objections from the second largest party, the government held the consultation on Thursday. According to Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak, the government was in a bid to resolve the row in consensus.

The UML lifted its obstruction of Parliament on Wednesday after the government agreed to increase the numbers in consensus with the major parties.

UML leaders suggested that a decision to increase the number of local bodies should be implemented only after the scheduled local elections.

“The discussion was a positive step towards finding common ground to resolve the issue,” said Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, chief whip of the UML. “The government tried to correct is act of bypassing the main opposition while taking a crucial decision.”

In the meeting, UML leaders warned the government not to take any unconstitutional step. The party claims that the government has no authority to change the report of the Local level Restructuring Commission.

Meanwhile, DPM Thapa floated the idea of upgrading Birgunj and Biratnagar sub-metropolitan cities to metropolises, to which the UML responded positively. The number of metropolitan cities in the country will be six if the proposal materialises.

RJP leader Laxman Lal Karna said the parties would have a second-round discussion after the ministry comes out with the criteria. According to RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato, they also questioned Dahal why the government had decided to create more local units only in the 11 districts.

PM reportedly responded that additions would be made in all the Tarai districts in consensus. He has scheduled a meeting of all the parties represented in Parliament on Friday to discuss the issues of local units and fast-track endorsement of the constitution amendment bill from Parliament.

Published: 28-04-2017 08:19

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