Demands will be met, Thakur tells NARC scientists

Kathmandu, July 9 :

Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Mahantha Thakur today visited the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) where scientists and employees are on a relay hunger strike to protest the ‘political interference’ in appointing its executive director (ED).

Thakur, in his brief address, assured all the agitating scientists and employees that he would fulfil their demands “within one or two days.”

“If we cannot please the agricultural scientists, the country will have to face dire consequences,” he said.

Today is the 32nd day of their agitation and they are on a 24-hour relay hunger strike for the past one week.

Welcoming the minister at the NARC, convener of the struggle committee Madhusudhan Upadhyay said the scientists and employees are hopeful that their demands would be addressed soon.

According to the member secretary of the struggle committee, Birendra Khadka, of the 1,400 employees of the NARC, some 1,100 have signed for the struggle while around 300 are directly involved in it. Almost all the NARC activities have been stalled because of the agitation.

One of the main demands of the scientists include the reinstatement of the Executive Director, Ram Pratap Sah, who was appointed as per the NARC’s rules in place of officiating ED Dularchand Sahu Pathik, “who had supported the royal government.”

Besides, the scientists are also demanding a change in the organisational structure of the sole agricultural research body of the country. “We have been demanding change in organisational structure of the NARC in which there won’t be room for political appointments,” Khadka added.