Nepal | June 03, 2020

Khanal, Rawal pen probing note to Prime Minister Oli

Seek explanation on reference to MCC in the govt’s policies and programmes

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 18

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders Jhalanath Khanal and Bhim Rawal today submitted a joint letter to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli demanding to know if the government’s pledge to build Lapsiphedi-Ratmate-Hetauda and Lapsiphedi–Ratmate-Damauli-Butwal 400 kV electricity transmission line was manifestation of its preparation to endorse the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement with the United States of America.

File – Nepal Communist Party (NCP) senior leaders Jhalanath Khanal (left) with Chairman KP Sharma Oli at a press meet, in Kathmandu, on Thursday, January 5, 2017. Photo: RSS

The government’s policies and programmes for the current fiscal that President Bidhya Devi Bhandari unveiled in the Parliament on May 15 state that the government would proceed with the construction of  Lapsiphedi-Ratmate-Hetauda and  Lapsiphedi–Ratmate-Damauli-Butwal  400 kV electricity transmission line.  But the government has not mentioned anything about the MCC in the government’s policies and programmes.

Rawal told THT that they sought to know from the PM if the government wanted to build Lapsiphedi-Ratmate-Hetauda and  Lapsiphedi–Ratmate-Damauli-Butwal  400 kV electricity transmission line as government’s own project or as part of MCC since that project was part of the MCC agreement.

Rawal said they warned the PM against trying to proceed with the MCC ignoring the party’s decisions.

NCP had recently formed a taskforce to study and present a report on the MCC as party leaders spoke against the agreement saying it was against national interest.

Khanal, Rawal and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali were in the taskforce that had concluded that the deal was against national interests and the Parliament should not endorse the deal in its current form. Rawal said his party had agreed that the government would follow the report presented by the task force.

Rawal said they also asked the PM to immediately call the party body’s meeting to discuss the MCC agreement.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had said in January that there was nothing in the MCC Compact Programme that warranted a debate, as the pact didn’t have anything that would undermine Nepal’s sovereignty.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 19, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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