Nepal | July 06, 2020

Govt planning to bring constitution amendment bill next week

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 19

The government is planning to register the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament next week by incorporating four issues — boundaries of provinces, recognition of dominant languages through a language commission, representation in the National Assembly on the basis of population and making the process of issuing citizenship more flexible.

“The top leaders of the three major parties are scheduled to meet on Monday evening. Following the meeting, the government will prepare a draft of the constitution amendment bill on the four issues and introduce it in the Parliament soon,” said Nepali Congress leader and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak.

Most probably, the issue of boundaries of federal units will be addressed by separating the hilly districts of province five and including them in provinces four and six. Province five will have only plain area from Nawalparasi to Bardiya, said Lekhak. The hilly districts of the existing province five will include Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Gulmi, Rukum, Rolpa and Pyuthan.

However, a gathering of senior workers and leaders of province five of CPN-UML today decided to protest against attempts to split the province. It is said wooing the UML and some leaders of the NC and CPN-Maoist Centre belonging to province 5 will be a difficult job.

Asked whether the UML will agree with the proposal of splitting province five, minister Lekhak said, “CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli was very positive about resolving the issue of boundaries during the meeting of top leaders of the  three major parties held on Thursday. I cannot say if he has changed the mind.”

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has proposed three options to settle the issue of provincial boundaries, according to sources.

The first alternative: The issue of federal boundaries of five disputed districts — Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur — will be settled by the federal commission.

Second alternative: A new eighth province can be created by including some districts of province five (Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Gulmi, Pyuthan and eastern part of Rukum) and province six (western part of Rukum, Dailekh and Salyan).

Third alternative: Separating the hilly districts of province five and incorporating them in provinces four and six.

“PM Dahal has held discussions on some alternatives. Hopefully, the government will take the constitution amendment bill to the Parliament by next week after Monday’s three-party meeting,” said the PM’s press adviser Govinda Acharya.

The PM has already announced that the bill will incorporate three other issues — giving recognition to the dominant language of the concerned province as official language; making population the major basis of representation in the National Assembly; and implementing the spirit of the Interim Constitution on the provisions related to citizenship certificate.

The Federal Alliance of agitating parties, on Monday, had served a 15-day ultimatum to the government to move a constitution amendment bill in the Parliament and the PM had promised to bring the bill before the given deadline.

 


A version of this article appears in print on November 20, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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