House panel, govt at loggerheads over France trip of lawmakers

KATHMANDU: Members of the Environment Protection Committee under the Legislature-Parliament have objected to the government's recent move, saying attempts were made to deprive them from participating in the United Nations Conference on Climate scheduled to be held in Paris of France from November 30 to December 11.

During a meeting of the Committee today called to discuss the government's preparation and its agenda for the conference, they expressed a strong objection, saying the government asked the members themselves to make arrangement for all the expenses if they wanted to participate in the conference.

In response, Minister for Environment, Bishwendra Paswan, said that he alone would participate in the conference at the government's expenses and some of the civil servants with the support of donors on the basis of previous practice at a time when the country has been facing various problems due to the unannounced border blockade.

Similarly, Secretary at the Environment Ministry, Krishna Chandra Paudel, said that he was directed not to make any expense from the nation's fund for participating in any conference and added that only four experts were schedule to participate in it to address the question to be raised, if the environment experts were not included in the team.

Paudyal said that he did not have any information that there would be a separate session for discussion with parliamentarians in the conference.

On the occasion, the members vented ire, saying the government neglected the parliamentary committee and its members. They also accused the government of informing the committee in the last hour when those members, scheduled to participate in the conference, already readied their luggage.

They also said that although some people were included in such team in the name of experts in previous years, the country did not get any benefit from them.