KATHMANDU: Did the government prepare its policies and programmes in a hurry? Or did it promise a plethora of things just to give a populist colour to its policy paper?
A case in point: The government in its policy document has expressed commitment to complete the Lumbini Development Master Plan in the next three years. But Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikary is still not sure whether he would be able to allocate the required funds to complete the project.
Lumbini Development Master Plan is an ambitious project prepared by Japanese architect Prof Kenzo Tange in 1978.
At a 17-member parliamentary Lumbini Development Monitoring Committee meeting today, Finance Minister Adhikary expressed his inability to allocate the required budget in the fiscal year 2011/12 for completion of the first phase of LDMP. The committee is chaired by Speaker Subas Nembang and he had invited Finance Minister Adhikary, Finance Secretary Krishnahari Baskota, Minister for Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture Khagendra Prasain and Culture Secretary Modraj Dotel today to discuss the budget required for the completion of the first phase of the Plan.
Culture Secretary Dotel, according to sources, informed the meeting that around Rs 2.69 billion will be required in this fiscal to complete the first phase of the Plan if it were to be completed in three years.
“I cannot commit allocation of the required budget right now,” Adhikary is learnt to have told the committee. Adhikary is believed to have told the meeting that the government was facing ‘financial constraints’ and it would not be possible to allocate the funds in fiscal year 2011/12 for LDMP.
The finance minister’s inability to allocate the budget has irked most of the committee members representing Lumbini Zone. “Why has the government promised to complete the Lumbini Plan in three years when it cannot allocate adequate budget?” questioned the committee members, adding, “Is the government paper just an eye-wash?”
Adhikary, however, said he would consult the prime minister and let the members know in the next meeting scheduled for Friday. The committee is scheduled to discuss the issue with the prime minister tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary Special Committee for Monitoring the Agreement Implementation, headed by Nembang, today inquired Defence Minister Bishnu Paudel and Defence Secretary Navin Ghimire about the progress made so far on making the Nepali Army inclusive, as per the five-point pact reached among the three major parties on May 28.
Minister Paudel informed that Military Regulations were being amended to make it compatible with Military Act. Paudel said out of total 92,753 army personnel, 6,196 people hail from the Madhesi community.