Parties in talks to redraw borders

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 15, 2015-As protests spread in the mid-western region and other parts of the country over state delineation, major political parties are mulling over reviewing their decision to demarcate the country into six provinces.

A meeting of the Special Committee that comprises the chiefs of major parties on Friday decided to redraw the borders in a bid to address “genuine and logical” demands. The leaders have agreed to make efforts to end the agitation for the sake of an early constitution.

The parties are exploring options to pacify protests that broke out in the Mid West with conflicting demands immediately after the parties resolved the most contentious issue of demarcation last week. Top and second-rung leaders are holding bilateral meetings to seek amicable solutions. “We have no option but to address protests raging in various parts of the country,” said Maoist Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha. “Bilateral discussions are going on to seek ways to address the concerns. An all-party meeting on Saturday may take a decision.”

Leaders reached an understanding to address the demands of the Tharus. “In the past, we promised them a separate province but we could not keep it. We are weighing options to address their agenda,” said a leader privy to the meeting.

The parties are in a fix over addressing the conflicting demands of the protesters. The demonstrations in Surkhet are for having the mid-western region as a separate province while the Tharus in Banke and Bardiya, which includes the region, are protesting for a state that incorporates Kailali and Kanchanpur.

Against the Tharus’ demand for a state, supporters of the Undivided Far West have long been protesting.

The stir in Jumla entered the sixth day on Friday demanding a Karnali autonomous region.  “Karnali may not sustain as a separate province but we are positive about announcing it as a special autonomous region,” said a leader.

Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, who chairs the Special Committee under the CA’s Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee, has proposed declaring the backward Karnali as an autonomous region, including the Tharu-dominated part of Kailali in Province 5 and committing to Surkhet as the capital of Province 6.

CPN-UML Vice-chairman Yubaraj Gyawali and UCPN (Maoist) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara discussed the idea on Friday. During the meeting, the duo is said to have agreed to put Kailali in Province 6 and name Surkhet as a provincial capital. Undivided Far West campaigners oppose the idea of Surkhet as the capital.

Shutdowns pain public

KATHMANDU: Weeklong protests and days of shutdown have made life difficult

in several parts of the

country.

Since the four parties decided the delineation of the six states last week, demonstrations have been ongoing particularly in the mid-western region. The Madhesi Morcha and the Tharuhat Struggle Committee have enforced a Tarai banda in protest.

Although the protesters initially allowed the people to buy essentials and travel from 6pm to 8pm, they have shut the services totally now. Vehicles are stranded on the way and passengers have been left in the lurch. Trucks ferrying goods

have been stopped at Bhairahawa Port.

The East-West Highway remains obstructed due to the protest in Kapilvastu and Nawalparasi districts.

In Dhangadhi, civil society leaders have expressed worries about possible clashes between supporters of a Tharuhat state and the Undivided Far West.

The Tharuhat Struggle Committee has enforced a banda in 22 districts of the Tarai. Markets, traffic, educational institutions and factories have been shut. Daily wage workers are severely affected. Many Nepalis returning home from India are unable to reach home.

An indefinite banda called in Jumla by supporters of a Karnali autonomous region entered the sixth day on Friday, crippling normal life.

Transportation services, schools, shops and even hospitals remained closed, with protesters rallying at several places including the district headquarters Khalanga. (PR)

(With inputs from our district correspondents)

Published: 15-08-2015 15:49

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