Bill session likely to be stormy

Kathmandu, December 19

The Bill Session of the Parliament beginning tomorrow is likely to be stormy, with the opposition planning to raise issues related to Kalapani, ‘controversial’ bills, Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Programme, Constitutional Council and Gokarna Forest Resort.

A meeting of the parliamentary party of the main opposition Nepali Congress this afternoon decided to seek the prime minister’s clarification on the government’s failure to take necessary political and diplomatic steps regarding Nepal-India border issue in the Kalapani region.

A recent political map released by India has depicted the Kalapani region — Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani — as Indian territory. Following the publication of the map, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had called an all-party meeting where he had expressed commitment to resolve the issue through diplomatic and political initiatives. “NC President

Sher Bahadur Deuba had pledged his party’s full support to any government initiative to resolve the issue, but the prime minister has failed to take any initiative,” said NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal. “The NC demands the PM’s clarification in the Parliament,” added Bhusal.

The NC also expressed reservation over controversial bills the government has tabled in the Parliament, including the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Constitution

and Operation of Nepal Special Service.

Terming the bill ‘against the spirit of the constitution’, the NC has demanded its withdrawal.

Bhusal said the bill violates citizens’ fundamental right, as it proposes to give powers to National Investigation Department to wiretap phones and to intercept digital communications of individuals. “The bill curbs civil liberties and right to privacy.”

Referring to the government’s recent bid to introduce an ordinance related to the amendment to the Constitutional Council Act, the NC said it would not allow passage of any such bills that violated constitutional provisions and parliamentary practice. “The government is planning to negate the opposition while appointing officials to constitutional commissions,” said Bhusal. “The NC will not accept such moves.” Deuba this morning met Oli at the latter’s residence in Baluwatar where Deuba conveyed the NC’s position to the PM regarding the Constitutional Council.

The NC also raised the government’s attention towards the need to endorse the MCC Compact Programme from the Parliament at the earliest. “The then government led by Deuba had signed the MCC agreement with the US to expedite development works,” said NC lawmaker Dila Sangroula. “However, there are reports that ruling party lawmakers are against it. So we demand the MCC’s endorsement at the earliest.”

Another issue the NC has raised is politicking in universities and making appointments based on political loyalty. The NC has warned the government against violating academic freedom of universities.

Other issues the NC plans to raise include the government’s bid to bring the Policy Research Institute under the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the government’s move to lease out Gokarna Forest Resort to Yeti Group.

“Our presentation in the Bill session of the Parliament will revolve around these issues,” said Sangroula.

Tomorrow’s inaugural session, which will be presided over by Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe in the absence of speaker, will see addresses from PM Oli and Deuba. The speaker’s post has remained vacant since Krishna Bahadur Mahara was arrested over attempt to rape charge.