Maybe, a pointer

Finally, after a long delay, the process of discharging the disqualified Maoist combatants and minors is now underway. Although the process had been initiated in July, it is only now that these combatants have been discharged. This was because of the obstinate resistance put up by the Maoist command. At one time it looked like the entire peace process was in jeopardy. It just seemed like the leaders were unable to reach a consensus, but now better senses have prevailed, and the political parties have acted in good faith and sincerity and have exhibited their commitment to see the peace process through to its logical end. Initially, disqualified fighters from the Second Division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Dudhauli in Sindhuli are being discharged. There are 373 such combatants in Dudhauli. The Discharge Technical Committee which oversees this comprises of representatives of the government, the Maoists and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and it has now started work. It is believed that the process of discharging the disqualified combatants will be completed within 45 days. There are 4,008 disqualified PLA fighters housed in seven cantonments and 21 satellite camps. Now that their fate has been decided, these combatants who have been frustrated by the inordinate delay in their rehabilitation can look forward to a better future.

These former combatants are to be first accommodated in makeshift camps where they will be trained in various vocations in skill enhancement trainings, which is expected to facilitate their rehabilitation in society. The policy towards this end is now being drafted so that they can begin new lives full of hope and optimism. The Maoist command, for their part, have said that they

have no objection were these fighters to be rehabilitated at the earliest. Talks have been held with

these former combatants to find out their aspirations so that these can be fulfilled as far as possible. The society too should cooperate with the authorities so that the rehabilitation of the Maoist fighters is accomplished without hitches. These former fighters might have already made their future plans contributing to the development endeavors of the country, and society as well as the authorities can ensure that these materialize. UNMIN has expressed its commitment to provide all possible help to the rehabilitation process, and so too has Norway which has pledged an aid of $5 million as assistance for the discharge and rehabilitation of the disqualified Maoist combatants, however with a condition that the task be accomplished by January 22.

Given the latest developments, there is every reason to believe that this will take place as envisaged. This is only the beginning for after the rehabilitation of the disqualified Maoist combatants, there are greater challenges ahead such as the reintegration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants housed in the cantonments. Now with agreement on the rehabilitation of the disqualified fighters, there is much optimism all around that the reintegration and rehabilitation of the Maoist fighters will take place as planned and as per schedule.

Fear the darkness

The buzz about solar power, the renewable and free source of energy, seems to have become a whimper since the 16 to 18 hour load-shedding schedule came to an end. There were big and mighty talks of going for alternative energy sources, but nothing seems to have been the outcome. The people are still having to face power cuts, albeit for a couple of hours on a daily basis. And, the news, as expected by the hapless consumers, is that after Tihar the outages might go up to a minimum of twelve hours or so daily. It is but a premonition of the dark days ahead for the users. The industries and sectors like tourism will feel the pinch, as they had gone throught it last year on massive scale.

Hydropower is fine but the investment bug is there to dampen spirits. On the other hand, solar power units are not cheap but can be tailored to suit households, communities, and villages for both heating and lighting purposes, with government support. A commitment had been made during the midst of the longest ranging load shedding days last year about boosting solar power use. But, unfortunately, the last minute syndrome seems to our most dependable ally that always spoils the finest of shows.