Parliament session put off until tomorrow after NC obstruction

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 25, 2016-

The meeting of the Legislature-Parliament on Friday was deferred until Sunday after the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) continued to stick to its guns, demanding that the government provide the housing aid of Rs 200,000 to earthquake victims in one go, instead of three tranches.

The NC obstructed the House session for the second consecutive day on Friday, seeking Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s clarification on government’s failure to expedite reconstruction and rehabilitation works. 

PM Oli was present at Parliament on Friday to update the lawmakers about the present status of reconstruction works and clarify before the House about the reasons behind slow progress. 

His scheduled address was cancelled at the last moment after talks between the ruling and opposition parties ended conclusively. 

In an informal meeting held between the ruling and opposition parties, PM Oli had urged the NC to let the House function, saying that “the existing directives” do not allow the government to provide housing aid of Rs 200,000 in lump sum. 

However, the NC refused to budge from its stand. 

“We don’t want PM’s speech. We need commitment from him,” said NC leader Prakash Saran Mahat who was present in the meeting of the ruling and opposition parties. “The PM was reluctant to express any commitment.” 

As per the existing directives, earthquakes survivors should get the Rs 200,000 housing aid in three tranches, and just a little over 5,000 quake victims have so far received the first tranche of Rs 50,000, according to the National Construction Authority. 

The governing CPN-UML has been saying that the main opposition’s demand is against the reconstruction directives formulated by the NC itself when it was in power. 

Minister for Law and Justice Agni Kharel claimed that it was the NC government which formulated the directives to provide housing grant to the earthquake victims in three tranches. 

“I was one of the many lawmakers who had called for providing the housing in lump sum, but the NC rejected our demand then,” Kharel told the media. “How can the government decide against the existing legal provisions?” 

He added that the main opposition should review its position before passing the buck on the government. 

NC leaders, however, said that as the government had done nothing for the earthquake survivors, it has to provide the housing grant at once to help expedite the reconstruction works. 

“Had the government worked on time, the situation would have been different by now,” said NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat. “The government is still struggling to release the first tranche,” he added. 

Published: 25-06-2016 10:34

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