Reconstruction Authority through ordinance

KATHMANDU: The government on Sunday decided to issue an ordinance to form an authority for the reconstruction works following the damage caused due to the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

Meeting of the Cabinet decided to send the ordinance to President Ram Baran Yadav for his approval.

According to Minister for General Administration Lalbabu Pandit, the government has already sent the ordinance to the President. President Yadav’s Press Adviser Rajendra Dahal said since the ordinance reached the President’s office late today it would go through it on Monday.

However, the main opposition party, Unified CPN-Maoist, has opposed the idea of forming the authority through ordinance, claiming that the authority should be formed through Parliament, as the new session was scheduled after five days.

The coalition partners, however, justified the move, saying formation of the authority prior to the donors’ conference, scheduled for June 25, was essential to convince the international community to extend support to Nepal in its bid to rebuild the country.

On Sunday UML’s standing committee had decided against the ordinance but they agreed to it following some agreement with NC. However, UML Secretary Gokarna Bista refused to reveal the amendments made to the proposed ordinance.

Pandit said the 11-member Reconstruction Authority would be formed under the chairmanship of prime minister with four ministers, three experts and chief secretary and vice-chairman of National Planning Commission being ex-officio members, besides a chief executive officer. The tenure of the authority will be five years.

He added that the government had not yet finalised the CEO but for the time being chief secretary would handle the responsibilities of the authority’s CEO.

As per the ordinance, a consultative committee would also be formed under the leadership of prime minister and the committee could exceed 100 members, including all the ministers and leaders of the parties represented in the Constituent Assembly.

UCPN-M top leaders walked out of the four-party meeting held at Baluwatar this morning following their differences on the process to form the authority. MJF-Democratic Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said it was government’s business to issue ordinance and his party neither supported nor opposed the move. According to UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s Personal Secretary Chudamani Khadka, Dahal said NC and UML had taken the decision unilaterally.

“We will play the role of opposition now,” Khadka quoted Dahal as telling Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

Sources claimed that UCPN-M had been lobbying for the leadership of the all-powerful Reconstruction Authority.

The government estimates that Rs 666 billion will be needed for reconstruction and rehabilitation within the next five years.

Following the four-party meeting held at Baluwatar this morning, Acting UML Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam said separate mechanism would be developed for policy-making and monitoring and a separate mechanism of court would be developed for hearing cases related to reconstruction works, besides the formation of a separate committee of foreign consultants.

He said the authority would work in close coordination with security forces, civil servants, donor agencies and the private sector.