Chief ministers of six provinces meet in Pokhara

Pokhara, September 6

Chief Ministers of all the provinces, except Karnali Province, arrived in Pokhara today to discuss various problems and solutions in the course of implementation of federalism.

Karnali Province Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi didn’t arrive at the headquarters of Gandaki Province to

attend the meeting held at

the initiative of Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung owing to health problem.

It is said the CMs will discuss issues of the present condition of provinces and big projects and grants from the federal government, among others. This meeting is being held on the eve of the inter-province council meeting scheduled for September 9.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will chair the meeting.

The chief ministers accused the federal government of turning apathetic towards delegating rights, provincial structure, staffers’ adjustment, among others. They also underscored the need of consensus, mutual understanding, co-existence and cooperation among the governments.

Ganadaki Province Chief Minister Gurung said that they hadn’t gathered to challenge the federal government. “We are gathering to use our constitutional rights and we want to prepare a common agenda to institutionalise federalism in the country. We want one voice among chief ministers in the upcoming meeting of the council. The security agency should be under the province government, not under Chief District Officers,” said CM Gurung.

Province 1 CM Sherdhan Rai said the distance between the local government and the federal government was increasing. He accused the central government of not decentralising power to local governments.

Province 3 Chief Minister Dor Mani Poudel agreed that the rights of Singha Durbar was not reaching local levels. “The federal government can’t succeed unless federalism is implemented effectively,” he said, adding, “And no tax rate has increased as rumours floating in the market make it out,” said CM Poudel.

Lal Babu Raut, Province 2 Chief Minister, said federalism in the country was like an

unwanted child. “The provincial government has been like an unwanted baby, who has been deprived of necessary love, care and affection due to the traditional mindset,” said CM Raut.

Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokhrel said province governments were not rivals. “The implementation of the constitution has been delayed due to lack of acknowledgement of  province governments. The federal government has been amiss about its responsibility regarding security and administration,” said CM Pokhrel.

Trilochan Bhatta, province 7 chief minister, said they were facing problems in implementing federalism, constitution and administration in the true sense. “We have developed a culture of questioning federalism when there is employee crunch or tax rate is hiked and others. There is misconception about federalism from the local to the higher level.” He said the province government was the patron of the people while the federal government was the patron of the province government.

CM Bhatta stressed both the province and federal governments needed to be clear on both small and big projects. The meeting will conclude with the Pokhara Declaration tomorrow.