Government moots four names for EPG

Kathmandu, January 13

Government has proposed four names for the Eminent Persons’ Group, a body set up to review all existing bilateral treaties between Nepal and India, including the 1950’s Peace and Friendship Treaty.

Former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay, former UN assistant secretary general Kul Chandra Gautam and CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai have been proposed as EPG members representing Nepal.

Government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai told The Himalayan Times that their names were proposed and discussed during today’s Cabinet meeting, but no formal decision was taken. “The next Cabinet meeting will take a decision in this regard,” Rai added.

The proposal to appoint EPG members has come at a time when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is scheduled to visit India, most likely in third week of February.

India has already appointed its EPG members.

The Third Joint Commission Meeting of Nepal and India that was held in Kathmandu in July 2014 had decided to set up the EPG with four members from each side on Nepal’s request.

The decision was endorsed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August 2014.

The EPG has been given two years to come up with a comprehensive report on anything that needs to be updated, adjusted or amended in all bilateral treaties.

Nevertheless, Nepali side couldn’t select its EGP members for over one and half years, mainly due to differences between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML on possible names.

As per the ToR, Nepal and India have already released $ 100,000 to set up the EPG Secretariat in each country.

Other Cabinet decisions

  • Prem Dangal appointed Vice-Chairman of Youth and Self Entrepreneurs Self Employment Fund. He is known to be close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli
  • The government has sought clarification from Arjun Kumar Karki, former secretary of Ministry of Urban Development over his alleged involvement in providing false details of the procurement of tarpaulins and tents for earthquake victims.Nowadays Karki is Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport
  • The government has decided to relocate the snowfall-affected earthquake survivors of Laprak VDC’s Wards No 6 and 7 to nearby 18.32 hector public land of Gupsipakha in the same VDC’s Ward No 6