Parties unable to break Parliament deadlock

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 29, 2016-

Yet another effort by the parties to resolve the ongoing political standoff failed to make any headway, leading to the postponement of the meeting of the Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday again. 

A joint meeting of senior leaders and the seven-member taskforce, which was formed to resolve find a way out, could not find a meeting point after the ruling and opposition parties refused to budge from their stance. 

The joint meeting was called after the taskforce failed to find ways to address the main opposition Nepali Congress’s demand that the government provide the housing grant of Rs 200,000 to earthquake survivors in lump sum.  The next meeting of Parliament has been called for Wednesday, but whether the meeting will convene will depend on the outcome of the talks between the ruling and opposition parties.

During the meeting of the taskforce earlier in the day, parties had agreed to verify earthquake survivors again and provide housing aid to those who have already built their houses in line with the government guidelines. However, no agreement could be reached on providing Rs 200,000 housing aid in one go and issuing loan between Rs 1.5 million and Rs 2.5 million at two percent interest rate. 

The ruling allies reiterated that the existing reconstruction directives and the agreement with the donor agencies bar the government from providing the grant in lump sum. 

As per the deal signed between the World Bank and the erstwhile Sushil Koirala-led government on August 14 last year, the housing grant was supposed to be distributed to the beneficiaries in four tranches. The incumbent government, however, had revised it, making the distribution of housing aid in three tranches. 

Proposing a middle path, the government has said it is ready to decrease the number of tranches to two from three. 

“The meeting though was positive, the government appeared reluctant to address our main concern,” said NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha. “Since the CPN (Maoist Centre) also seems positive about NC’s demand, there could be some progress on Wednesday before the Parliament meeting.” 

During the meeting of the senior leaders, the ruling parties had requested the main opposition to help resume the House meeting, saying that the government was ready to expedite reconstruction and rehabilitation works. 

“The ruling parties showed maximum flexibility, but the NC refused to budge from its stance,” said Dil Nath Giri, chief whip of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal. “We are hopeful of a deal tomorrow.” 

Deliberation on the appropriation bill has been halted since Thursday due to House obstruction by the main opposition NC. The obstruction has hampered the government plan to complete the budget discussion by July 1.

Published: 29-06-2016 09:37

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