Kathmandu, November 6:

Minister for Education and Sports Radha Krishna Mainali said today that the Maoist problem might last several decades.

Addressing a talk programme at Media Group Nepal, Mainali said: “The total solution to the Maoist problem may take decades to come. Neither are they going to give up arms nor can they acquire a regime through guns.”

Mainali also said that election would take place on time, adding that the election and Maoist problem were two separate things and one should not club the two as that would create confusion.

He accused both the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML of making high-sounding speeches but doing 180-degree turns from their enunciated stands, adding that any day these two parties might jump into the poll fray.

The minister also stressed that one should not be annoyed by the recently promulgated press ordinance as it was brought only to make the press more disciplined. “If problems remain, one can solve it at practical levels. In any case, it will automatically become void in six months as it is only an ordinance,” he said.

Former minister Jog Mehar Shrestha said seizure of equipment from a FM radio station at night was wrong, but added that journalists should not take to the streets instead of trying to resolve the problem through dialogue. “An active and strong press is always important for a country and it should play a very instrumental role in the forthcoming election to make it really free and fair,” he said.

Former minister Gore Bahadur Khapangi, however, lambasted the journalists for criticising the media ordinance. He said that the “wild beasts” were roaming in farms without restraint and the government, as a shepherd, had only tried to teach them “some civilisation”. He also alleged that Nepali journalists were being moved by “donations from abroad”.