KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction will initiate the process of discharging the UNMIN-discarded People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants and minors from tomorrow.

Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong told The Himalayan Times that the process would begin with the Dudhauli cantonment in Sindhuli. “A team is being dispatched to supervise the process,” he said.

The team comprises Minister Chemjong and representatives of the Maoists, UNMIN and UNDP and a few employees of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

He held out hope for the discharged fighters, who have been holed up in the cantonments for more than two years. “We’ll try to get a sense of what they want. Our team will stay put at the cantonments to facilitate the process, which will be completed by November 30,” he added. However, the discharged ones will not be rehabilitated in the society immediately. “They will be lodged in temporary camps for a while, where they will undergo some vocational training for skill enhancement,” added the minister.

Though the UML-led coalition had started the process of discharging the minors from the cantonments in the third week of July, the process got stalled due to the Maoists’ non-cooperation.

Initially, the team had chosen the cantonment Jhyaltungdanda in Nawalparasi. But the minors stood their ground, refusing to be

discharged, much to the embarrassment of the

government. The ruling coalition is under tremendous pressure from both the donor agencies and international community to release the minors at the earliest.

Altogether, there are 4,008 minors and disqualified combatants across seven cantonments and 21 camps.

The Maoists are demanding that an economic package for the minors be ensured ahead of the release.

Landgren meets Prachanda

KATHMANDU: Karin Landgren, chief, United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) on

Saturday met Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, chairman, Unified-CPN-Maoist at the

latter’s residence in Nayabazar in the capital. Sources claimed that the duo deliberated upon the release of UNMIN-discard fighters and minors from Sunday. Senior Maoist leaders, however, said that they were unaware of the meeting. — HNS