Any takers?

Even as doubts are being raised as to whether the new constitution will be promulgated on the stipulated date of May 28, the Constituent Assembly (CA) has effected the 10th amendment in the timetable for the drafting task. There are many who question the goal of the constitution being completed in the next 78 days when seemingly nothing has been accomplished in the past more than a year and a half. With this latest amendment, the deadline remaining the same, only a sense of credibility has been maintained for the august CA. Repeated amendments in the work schedule has not achieved the purpose, and it seems almost far-fetched to think the latest one will. Taking into account the time constraint, the only obvious intent has been to shorten some of the procedures which had been the fixtures when the constitution drafting journey had been initiated post-CA election. This is to say that certain democratic says will have to be shinted aside all because of the time that would be required like sending the completed draft to the people for their suggestions-a time consuming process-which the less than three months do not allow. A review would show that the political parties represented in the CA have yet to sit down in earnest for the constitution drafting process.

All know the contentious issues as related to forms of governance and state restructuring, but serious deliberations to sort them out has not emerged courtesy the indifference of the political leaders who matter. The High Level Political Mechanism had been formed with great hopes of delivering results but it is lost in its own web. Again the leaders have failed to give in their rigid stances to arrive at consensus by breaking out of their partisan interests. The UCPN-Maoist was for ever found to be raising new demands that were unreasonable over a period of time that had the other political parties in a quandary. The inability to reach a consensus, thus, compelled the CA to make one amendment after another in the schedule for drafting the constitution. However, the leaders of the major political parties are making their commitments for promulgating the constitution within the given time, but without any concrete action plan to dislodge the issues of their disagreement. And, it points to only one thing that the stakeholders have something concealed in this regard which they have not been divulging or misleading the public at large.

Were the constitution not promulgated in the given timeframe, the consequences could be disastrous. Now with no time to lose work should immediately begin for compiling and consolidating the reports into a draft constitution. It is a conundrum as to what makes the big party leaders shy away from coming together to get the constitution drafting work completed, that is to say find ways and means to overcome the contentious issues. If they want to do so they could, instead of shying away from the real task but going for inflammatory speeches at other forums. The CA has facilitated the statute drafting process through the 10th amendment, and it is for the concerned parties to heed the call to maintain their dignity and integrity in front of the electorate.

Inflation punches

The inflation figures provided by the central bank of Nepal for the month of February and January this year at 18.1 per cent and 17.8 per cent respectively makes the people go around hopping furiously. If it had only been a case of mutton going dearer by Rs 50 to Rs 500 per kilo, we would rather cut it out of

the home menu. But, the cutting edge is that barring some vegetables, the price of every other commodity of daily need is rising as if there were no tomorrow. The government is supposed to do some checks-and-balances but the free market stuff gets in

the middle, and then it is inaction all the way. The

officials can bring out a number of excuses for their photo sessions, but that is not going to feed the people with the right amount of nutrition which comes at a price.

For most people, apart from the unemployed,

the incomes change only after a long duration,

but the market prices can within a matter of hours. The safety valve is nowhere to be seen, and as

usual the blame is put on last year’s scanty rain that is adverse weather pattern. To call a shortfall and do nothing to match words for action in the food security mission just shows how shallow the concerns of the officialdom is.