Not so cool
The celebration by the UML-led government may be justified for having crossed the 100th day in office. The yardstick to measure the successes may not be perfect considering the fact that the positives and the negatives have somehow mingled to create a rather hazy picture, and to the confusion of the general people. The only rosy picture emerging in the post-honeymoon period is that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is stillat the helm of affairs, despite threats from all sides to topple the government. At the forefront is the UCPN (Maoist) who are hell bent on their demand to be met regarding the discussion of their resolution motion in the House. This has had the Maoists creating obstruction for the smooth functioning of the House proceedings which should have been taking up crucial issues of national significance. The priority for the moment is to get the budget for the fiscal year 2009/2010 discussed and approved. But, with the House session continually obstructed, there are still no signs of any breakthrough to the impasse. This has been an area where PM Nepal has not been able to find his way out. The consensus part too does not hold with each party, especially the UCPN (M) having its own rigid stance on almost every issue. Hence, every issue that the government has to ponder over seems to be overwhelming. This might have been the reason for PM Nepal to abruptly come up with a six-month timeframe for the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants.
The government, as is evident, does lack steam as far as taking the main opposition party UCPN (M) is taken into consideration, together with the failure to move ahead with the formation of the much-mooted high level political mechanism participated in by the major parties that is CPN (UML), NC and UCPN (M). The urgency for such has not been taken up seriously, whereas the issue of prime consideration is the power equation, and keeping the coalition intact even if it means having a jumbo cabinet to boot. The ministerial berths are still there, as the council of ministers is yet to be given the final shape. This makes all the stakeholders in the form of the coalition partners expect more from PM Nepal. Besides the Nepali Congress, the Madhesh-based parties have the key in their hands, because of the strength they wield in the Constituent Assembly. It is a tough road for the prime minister to tread on with the pitfalls that lie therein.
Just past the 100 days in office, there was much talk of the Madhesh-based parties pulling back the hand of support, which would have proved dire for PM Nepal. But, the extensive discussion among the leaders of Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, Nepal (Democratic), Tarai-Madhesh Democratic Party and Nepal Sadhbhavana Party came to the conclusion, among others, to fully support the coalition. The government can now heave a sigh of relief for it once seemed to have been in the shadow following the vice-president’s issue. There are more challenges that still await resolution, and it is quite unfortunate that the top leadership of the political parties have not been able to tread outside the partisan confines to that of the national interest.

Provide escorts
Almost every day passengers in the highway are being robbed. It seems it is not safe to travel on long journeys. It is, therefore, with trepidation that one ventures to travel by bus. There was once talk about providing security in the highways, but going by the frequency of robberies going on in these routes, it seems that the authorities have been paying only lip service. The highway robbers brazenly flout the law and often are found carrying weapons which they are not supposed to possess. Furthermore, most of the robbers escape and are never nabbed. The robbers use novel means to carry out their loathsome activities, thus evading arrests.
The law enforcement agencies should be
alert to this. There was once much talk about the highway patrols of the security forces, but these
too have not succeeded in curbing the incidences
of robberies. At one time every passenger bus
used to carry an armed security guard. This had helped deter the robberies to some extent. Now, a similar practice could be revived. If this is not possible then the buses should travel in convoys escorted by armed security personnel so that the robbers do not dare to loot innocent passengers.