Discussion on name and headquarters of Province 7 begins

Dhangadi, August 4

With the formation of Parliamentary Committee to recommend name and permanent headquarters of Province 7, discussion on the possible name and headquarters of the province has started.

Social media have been awash with arguments. Not only politicians and law makers but also public are divided over the issue of headquarters.

People, including leaders and law makers from Kailali and Kanchnapur want to see Dhangadi as the headquarters. Whereas, people of hills and mountain regions want to see Dipayal as the headquarters of the province for which they had staged months long protest in Doti earlier. Fixing the headquarters of the province will not be a cake walk for the Provincial Assembly of Province 7. The constitutional provision has it that name and headquarters of the province will be finalised by a two-thirds majority in the Provincial Assembly.

Bharat Kahdka, lawmaker elected from Doti from the Nepali Congress argued that Dipayal would be the suitable place for headquarters for balanced development of the province. “Shifting the headquaters to the Tarai region will not be a good decision as it will make the Tarai region even more populated and hilly regions will lag behind in terms of development,” Khadka said.

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) holds majority in Province 7. However, they do not have unanimous opinion regarding the headquarters. NCP law maker Ratan Thapa says that capital should be fixed based on physical infrastructures and facilities. According to Thapa, Attariya will be suitable place for capital based for many reasons.

Province 7 has formed a five-member recommendation committee to suggest the name and headquarters under the leadership of lawmaker Tara Tamang.

Some are in favour of fixing headquarters in the Tarai district to include Tharu community. Surprisingly, leaders of the Tharuhat agitation are in favour of fixing the headquarters in the hilly region. Some view this as a strategy of Tharu leaders to revive Tharuhat agitation. Leader of Tharuhat agitation Prabhat Kumar Chaudhary said that it would not be good to keep headquarters in the plains by ignoring seven hilly districts. “It will be better to keep the capital in the hilly region,” Chaudhary said.

Tharu Civil Society Kailali chair Dil Bahadur Chaudhary argued that Dipal would be suitable for headquarters for all. “Since Kailali and Kanchanpur are comparatively developed than hilly districts, the capital should be kept in hilly districts,” Chaudhary added.

However, there does not seem to be more disputes regarding the name of the province. Setikali, Far Western, Manash khanda are some of the names doing rounds, said lawmaker Mahesh Dutta Joshi. Some have suggested Khaptad, Ghodaghodi as well. Lawmakers say that they might forge consensus on Setikali.