NC takes exception to Peace nepotism

Kathmandu, October 20:

Constituent Assembly (CA) members of the main opposition Nepali Congress today said the budget allocation for the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction was “aimed at preparing ground for another phase of war” and that the Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring was formed to create a “homogeneous culture based on Maoist ideology.”

“Going by the budget allocation for the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, it seems that the Maoists want to convert it into a Ministry of War because Rs 5.4 billion out of the total Rs 9.14 billion has been earmarked for the management of the Maoist camps, allowances for the combatants and their rehabilitation,” NC CA member Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said. Saying that Rs 140 million more would be provided to the Ministry by a World Bank supported programme, Dr Mahat said the budget was allocated to strengthen the Maoists’ private force.

“Allocation of budget for the cantonment management will not help restore lasting peace. This will invite another phase of war in the days ahead,” he said. He regretted that the Finance Minister has earmarked only Rs 1.28 billion for the reconstruction of the infrastructure

destroyed during the conflict.

Commenting on budget allocation for the Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring, NC CA member Dr Minendra Rijal said the formation of the Ministry of State Restructuring was against the letter and spirit of Article 138 of the interim constitution, which has envisaged forming a commission to to recommend federal structure.

“The state is restructured on general consensus and not by any ministry,” Rijal said. He alleged that the ministry was set up under a long-term Maoist strategy for establishing a homogeneous culture based on the Maoist ideology.

The Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party boycotted the discussion on the appropriation Bill today

as well over the Kapilvastu incident, where its two cadres were killed allegedly by a group of Maoist cadres.

Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the Maoist argument against parliamentary democracy holds no water because they are already in the parliamentary process.

CA member Nabindra Raj Joshi maintained a minute-long silence protest against the inadequate time set aside for the discussion on appropriation bill. “How can we debate budgetary allocations of six ministries in six hours?” Joshi asked. He also lamented the fact that none of the minsiters were present while appropriation bills under their ministries were being discuseed at the House.

CA members today discussed budget allocation for the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology; Ministry of Labour and Transport Management; Ministry of Local Development; Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring and Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.