Nepal | October 20, 2019

Reconstruction bill stuck with House panel

CEO appointment a sticking point with both main opposition Nepali Congress and CPN-UML

Prakash Acharya

Kathmandu, November 24

It has been almost two months since the meeting of the Legislature Parliament forwarded the bill related to the reconstruction authority to its Legislation Committee.

However, the bill is now stranded at the panel due to only one dispute whether to reinstate Govinda Raj Pokharel, the Chief Executive Officer of the authority formed as per the ordinance, which became defunct later on in the absence of law between the CPN-UML and main opposition Nepali Congress.

The ruling parties want to make a fresh appointment for the post of CEO, while the NC is pleading to give continuity to Pokharel’s appointment made by then NC-UML coalition government. The panel’s meeting was postponed for indefinite period after today’s meeting failed to find a point of compromise on the issue.

The NC-led government had issued an ordinance in June to set up the authority with the aim of moving ahead the reconstruction works of damaged structures due to the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks and to support earthquake affected people. However, the ordinance had expired as the government delayed bringing a bill to replace the ordinance.

Although the NC-led government registered a fresh bill on September 10, it could not move ahead in the parliament as the then ruling partner UML opposed it. More than 50 amendment proposals, most from UML parliament members, were registered opposing some provisions of the bill. Even after formation of the UML-led government on October 11, the same dispute over the bill has continued. “After the panel received the bill around two months ago, it held five meetings. Its sub-panel prepared a report resolving all issues except only one, that is, whether to make the provision of reinstating the CEO appointed as per the ordinance,” said Ganga Chaudhari Satgaunwa, chairperson of the panel.

The panel had formed a sub-panel headed by NC lawmaker Tarini Dutta Chataut on October 5 and it forwarded its report to the main panel on November 6. However, the panel could not endorse the report as the members of ruling parties opposed the provision related to CEO appointment.

“All parties are agreed on giving continuity to all other works done as per the ordinance but the ruling parties have objected to giving continuity to the appointment of the CEO,” said the panel chair.

After Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Agni Kharel told the panel at today’s meeting that the bill could not be moved ahead without changing the provision of CEO appointment in accordance with the ordinance, the meeting was postponed for indefinite period.

“As parties have said that they are still working on finding a compromise, the panel will call the next meeting for endorsing the bill only after they reach consensus,” said panel Chairperson Chaudhari (Satgaunwa).

The work of reconstruction has not yet begun even after seven months of the devastating earthquake in the absence of legal provision for the same. A cabinet meeting, last week, had decided to move ahead with the task through National Planning Commission until legal arrangements were made.

A version of this article appears in print on November 25, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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