Search for ace

The puzzle still continues as to which comes first: the rehabilitation and integration of the former Maoist combatants; or the new constitution. The government wants the issue of the former Maoist rebels settled before the promulgation of the constitution. On this, the UCPN (Maoist) has a different line of thought. And, hence the lingering continues despite the fact that dealing with the Maoist combatants in the UN-monitored cantonments should have been completed by now after the agreement was made on June 25, 2008. The integration and rehabilitation of these combatants is yet a far cry with the Maoists coming up with one or the other demands that have slowed down any initiative in this direction. At one time the Maoist insistence was on bulk entry in the security forces and not on an individual basis as per their qualification. That means the UCPN (M) wants all of the 19,000 or so combatants to be integrated all at one go. The government has spoken its mind of only integrating 3,000 of them. The government’s number may be bolstered by the belief that politically indoctrinated personnel, which the Maoist fighters are, should not be allowed into the national army which consists of only professionals and, therefore, there are those who want the fighters to abandon their political affiliations before joining.

Meanwhile, in what seems more like a time-buying spree, after the satisfactory discharge of the disqualified combatants from the cantonments recently, another strand has been picked up, namely urgent directive by the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation to its technical committee to come up with a rehabilitation package for the cantonment dwellers the actual number of which is shrouded in mystery as it has been reported that some of them have left on their own accord. In all this, the Maoists too have not taken up the issue in a practical light and, hence, the sense of urgency is not seen on their part.

Since for all purposes, it would be near impossible to integrate all the Maoist combatants the government is mulling incentives for those who opt to

be rehabilitated. This is a personal choice and

there should be no coercion. If those who want to be rehabilitated were provided with attractive lucrative schemes to find other jobs or even the necessary

vocational training to open small enterprises and

become entrepreneurs chances are many of the combatants will choose this alternative. However, with consensus eluding the three parties, chances of the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist

army before the drafting of the constitution is very slim, which may be what the “strategic planning” of the Maoists is all about. With a large number of

the former rebels adept at handling arms and

ammunitions with relative ease at their beck and call, a keen analyst would see them not willing for the offer of the government for the integration of only a small number before the statute comes into

effect. That fittingly explains the delaying tactics by the Maoists for speeding up the statute drafting task, and the insistence on the whole lot of the former rebels in the security forces.

Safety stumbles

The overhead bridges were designed with the safety of the pedestrians in congested areas. If people use the bridges, the traffic flow will be smooth. But, for some people these days the thought of facing the constant stream of vehicular movement to get across the street seems a better option than taking the ups and downs of overhead bridges in core areas. The reason is not difficult to arrive at as cases of robbery have been reported from the bridge above. It does not have to be late hours in the night to encounter the gangs operating right above the road. Many have fallen victims to such mugging. It all sounds weird, but it is true as per victims’ reports.

When the police have their surveillance at the ground level, they could have done better to keep an eye on the overhead bridges. The pedestrians do not want to use the facility at the cost of their possessions and even their physical safety. Maybe a bit of extra policing on the structure for pedestrians’ safety will bring a sigh of relief from the users. That would mean throwing the safety net across the overhead bridges and encouraging the pedestrians to use them assured of safety on all fronts.