Army top brass at PM’s door

KATHMANDU: Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal and other senior officials of the Nepali Army this afternoon met with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at his office in Singhadurbar.

According to an NA official, who attended the meeting, the CoAS requested the PM to allocate an additional budget of Rs 18 billion for the NA in the fiscal year 2009/10. However, the NA maintained that the senior army officials met the PM for regular briefing.

This is the first time the NA officials conducted a briefing for PM Nepal after he assumed office.

CoAS Katawal, Lt Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, Major General Nepal Bhushan Chand, Major Gen Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Major Gen Toran Jung Bahadur Singh, Brigadier Gen BA Kumar Sharma and Major Gen Keshav Raj Mahat were in the NA delegation.

The NA has been saying that the erstwhile government did not provide them adquate budget in the fiscal year 2008/09. After the Kul Bahadur Khadka issue, budget has become a big issue for the national army at present. This year the NA is hopeful that the government will allocate the amount as proposed by them.

The NA has been requesting additional budget for the modernisation and regular upkeep of the Nepali Army, an NA official told this daily.

The army officials met the PM for more than three hours. Some ministers were also present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey left the PM’s office when the meeting was going on. Though mediapersons questioned whether the NA was demanding more budget from the government, Pandey refused to make any comment.