Frost on the pane

Seven months cannot be said to be enough time to finalise the draft of the all-inclusive democratic constitution of the country. Yet, the dilly-dallying

by the major parties has raised a very crucial

question as to how they expect to fulfill the mandate given to them by the people through the Constituent Assembly election. All the while, along the road, often trivial issues have dominated the rift between the

political parties that really hold the keys, namely Nepali Congress, CPN (UML) and UCPN (M). In the past five months, the Maoists have broken all records through their rhetoric on “civilian supremacy”. The House is still stalled, leaving many an important business languishing till the simmering issues are resolved. The main obstacle has been raised by the Maoists in their insistence to include the president’s move regarding the then CoAS, and for a national government headed by them in the common stance of the three major parties. Herein, the hitch is that the NC is totally opposed to the idea, while UML has its own reservations. With this situation prevailing, there seems to be no reasonable outlet to end the stalemate that has prevented the Legislature Parliament from attending to its tasks of utmost importance. In the same vein, the task of statute drafting, too, has suffered, and is moving with hardly any speed all because of the fact that there are a number of constitutional issues on which disagreements prevail, and the target is aimed at achieving consensus. And, in the context that sees the three parties holding parleys repeatedly, consensus has always proved to be elusive.

Sticking to one’s own gun is what strikes the mind of any ordinary

observer, particularly the rigid stance of the Maoists. Finding the middle path to the satisfaction of all

the stakeholders has not been possible. The only

task that the “Big 3” seem to always agree on is

the formation of one taskforce or mechanism, or the other. The big news now seemingly is that the NC, UML and UCPN (M) have agreed, in principle

only, to the formation of a taskforce-level mechanism of all the political parties represented in the CA to get the statute drafting work really moving. The idea is definitely welcome in that the representation in

the taskforce would be the lawmakers belonging to all the parties in the CA, whose task is the formulation of the constitution draft. This taskforce, if it

materializes can effectively deal with the issues

over which it is given jurisdiction, and it would pave the way for the statute draft work to move smoothly. But, going by the precedents, the same hassles that entangle the three major parties might also surface there because of the various contentious issues involved in the constitution draft.

More than anything, it has always been a time-buying spree in which the Maoists have unfurled themselves. They have demands, as is usual in a democracy, but the other parties do not see anything substantial in them, so the obvious denial. National interest has been sidelined in favour of the partisan interests. Once again, the Maoists have floated the dream of a settlement after Tihar. One another wait!

Soap talk

The benefits of washing hands with soap are immense, and it is believed that about 45 per cent incidence of diarrhea and 50 per cent of respiratory infections can be averted by doing so. The majority of Nepalese people live in unhygienic surroundings with poor sanitation, all the more reason why they should be washing their hands after exposure to dirt and germs. As the world celebrated the second Global Hand-washing Day Thursday, there should be a serious campaign carried out to involve the people and raise awareness about the necessity of washing hands for it has been found to have a direct impact on health. Now, there are those who, among other things, advocate the necessity of establishing sanitation as a basic right of the people.

In the meantime, of late we see the private

sector promoting washing hands through advertisements in the media. This is indeed commendable

for they are doing a service for which society should be obliged. However, that only 51 per cent of Nepalese wash their hands with soap should keep the health experts thinking. Thus, soap should be readily available and affordable, and the people should be encouraged to wash their hands to help ward off diseases and ill health.