Kathmandu, December 9
Chief ministers of the provinces today complained about the federal government’s non-cooperation with regard to implementation of rights guaranteed to provinces as stated in the schedule of the constitution.
The chief ministers raised issues such as human resource crunch, non-formation of National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission and umbrella laws. “Because of delay in drafting acts in line with the constitution, we are facing problems on the development front,” said Province 2 CM Mohammad Lal Babu Raut.
Putting forth their 13-point concerns before the federal government in the first ever inter-province council meeting held at Singha Durbar, the chief ministers sought establishment of a permanent secretariat of the inter-province council to ensure proper coordination between federal and provincial governments.
The chief ministers had earlier agreed to put forth their nine-point concern in a meeting slated for September, which was postponed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Raut said a previous mechanism led by the PM and chief secretary failed to deliver, resulting in non-coordination between the two tiers of government.
“We wanted a roadmap from the mechanism for our future course, but we never got one,” Raut said.
Those putting forth their concerns in today’s meeting included Province 1 CM Sherdhan Rai, Province 2 CM Raut, Province 3 CM Dormani Poudel and Gandak Province CM Prithivi Subba Gurung. The three remaining CMs will speak tomorrow.
The federal Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration also briefed the meeting about the work done so far to strengthen provincial governments.
“We hope this meeting will discuss our concerns in detail and some tangible results will come out when it ends tomorrow,” said Raut. “If we get serious, it will not be difficult to address our concerns.”
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota said the CMs were very specific while putting forth their concerns. He said the CMs not only raised concerns, but also made recommendations to address those concerns.
According to Baskota, PM Oli has directed the authorities concerned to address problems related to laws, administration, finance, planning and development for implementation of federalism.
Oli, who inaugurated the meeting at 12:45pm, left the meeting at 1:00pm. When he returned at 2:45pm, the secretaries of the federal ministries had finished their briefing. “I had to leave midway due to urgent work. Please do not take it otherwise,” a participant quoted Oli as saying in his concluding remarks. “I am very aware of the issues presented by the federal secretaries.”
Agreeing that some more tasks still remained to ensure implementation of federalism, Oli said the government would speed up work. “Since federalism was new for us, we did not know we needed offices and residences for CMs and provincial ministers,” he said. “A sportsperson cannot become a champion until he enters the battleground. We have entered a new game called federalism, so we will emerge champions.”
Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi welcomed the chief ministers in the meeting. National Planning Commission chief and the Attorney General could not make their presentation today. In the meeting today, most of the federal ministers and the prime minister’s advisers were present.
A version of this article appears in print on December 10, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.