Panel formed to end deadlock

  • housing grant distribution
- Post Report, Kathmandu
According to a PMO source, the government will discuss the possibility of lump sum payment with World Bank representatives

Jun 28, 2016-After a five-day long standoff in the Legislature-Parliament over the distribution of grants for post-earthquake reconstruction, the ruling and opposition parties on Monday formed a seven-member committee to resolve the row.

The first meeting of the committee that comprises three members from the opposition Nepali Congress, two from the ruling CPN-UML and one each from coalition partners CPN (Maoist Centre) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal on Monday agreed to find a win-win solution.

The NC has been obstructing the House session since Thursday, demanding a lump sum payment of Rs200,000 to those rendered homeless by the earthquakes last year as a housing grant. 

It also has been demanding Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s clarification over the sluggish progress in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.

However, despite the presence of Oli in Parliament to inform the House about the latest developments, the NC has been barring him from speaking saying that he first needs to commit to meet its demand. According to Dil Nath Giri, a member of the committee, Monday’s meeting was positive with both the ruling and opposition parties agreeing to resolve the issue immediately. Giri claimed that the next meeting, on Tuesday morning, will resolve the issue.

According to a source at the Prime Minister’s Office, the government is holding talks with World Bank representatives on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of providing the grant at one go. As per the deal signed between the World Bank and the erstwhile Sushil Koirala-led government on August 14 last year, the grant would be distributed to the beneficiaries in four instalments. The incumbent government revised it to three instalments.

Giri said the decision of the committee would be endorsed by a meeting of top leaders after Tuesday noon, before the House proceedings begin at 3pm following the PM’s address. The House meeting that is scheduled to discuss the appropriation bill was obstructed on Monday too.

Lawmakers from the largest party protested by standing from their seats soon after Speaker Onsari Gharti announced the commencement of the meeting. The Speaker allowed NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat to speak, who said they were compelled to disrupt the session as the government had ignored their demand.

On the decision to provide the grant in instalments, Mahat said: “We had planned to provide all the instalments within a year. However, the incumbent government is 

still struggling to verify the beneficiaries,” he said. 

Mahat argued that the government could negotiate with the World Bank to pay the lump sum.

Published: 28-06-2016 11:32

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