HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
ITAHARI: Even as the long-drawn dispute over the number of federal units was finally getting settled, various districts have started squabbling over the provincial capital of their state.
Some ethnic groups are now organising different agitations, bandhs and the likes.
The demand for provincial capital had formally started two weeks ago from Biratnagar of Morang with leaders of local political parties and others holding demonstrations seeking the inclusion of all districts east of Koshi into a single state with Biratnagar as its provincial capital.
According to UCPN-M Morang In-charge Ganesh Upreti, member of the struggle committee formed to champion the cause, a meeting of the committee in Urlabari of Morang today has decided to welcome the recent federal model proposed by the parties by keeping Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari as one state.
But we have also decided to float Biratnagar as the provincial capital for the state as it deserves the status given its physical and other infrastructure,” he said, expecting coordination from Itahari municipality to that effect.
Residents of Itahari, however, are also staking a claim on the to-be-formed provincial capital.To champion the cause, a 1001-member committee was formed in Itahari today. A six-member coordination committee was also formed to lobby and seek support of neighbouring VDCs and municipalities for their cause.
Other sub-committees like financial sub-committee and a separate sub-committee for publicity have also been formed. As we have made necessary preparations, the agitation for provincial capital will take off now, reasoned NC Sunsari President Hem Karna Poudel, claiming that Itahari is the most suitable place for provincial capital that incorporates three eastern districts —Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari.
Likewise, Damak, Jhapa, is also seeking status of provincial capital of the three-district state. A meeting was organised by the local FNCCI chapter in Damak today to discuss the possibility.
Meanwhile, the demand for making their place the provincial capital is not limited to Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts. People of Dhankuta started an agitation five days ago, seeking their district as the provincial capital for the proposed-state that incorporates Dhankuta, Taplejung, Panchthar and Ilam and parts of Bhojpur, Sankhuwasabha and Terhathum.
A general strike has been in effect here from Wednesday for the cause, for which Ilam has also started staking claim.
People in Ilam are, however, yet to unite for the cause. Elsewhere, leaders of local political parties, civil society, and different organisations of Khotang have also started a campaign seeking their home district as the provincial capital for the state that incorporates Solukhumbu, Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Udayapur, Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha.
One state with three districts welcomed
BIRATNAGAR: The UML, Maoist and Congress district-level leaders of Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari agreed to make one state comprising Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari in Morang’s Urlabari on Thursday. The leaders welcomed the decision of 11 states in the country and have sought to include three districts in one state. They have also demanded timely promulgation of the constitution on time to resolve the problem of strikes, among others. CPN-UML politburo member Naresh Kharel said confusion regarding statute promulgation has been cleared. The country will be carved into 11 states and Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts will comprise one state, he said. Nepali Congress Morang Secretary Babu Raja Ojha said the discussion among the parties focused on the names and capitals of the states. Maoist Jhapa acting in-charge Jhalak Singh Dalarmi said a historic agreement had been reached among the three major political parties.