Hope all the way

The unique 4-point agreement between the CPN (UML) and UCPN (Maoist) saw an end to the two month obstruction of the Legislature Parliament, three months after it had been summoned on March 29, 2009. Now that the winter session has been prorogued and the budget session has begun, a new sense of relief and confidence seems in the air for Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The first in line is the focus on the budgetary estimates for the fiscal year 2009/2010. With the House deadlock ending, the government has been quick on fixing the date for the budget presentation. Not only the government, but every sector of the society

looks up to the next fiscal year’s budget for different reasons. Whatever it may be, the lifeline of at least

a month is there within which besides the budget, many other tasks have to be undertaken by the

government. Among the many, the foremost tasks are, as PM Nepal has repeatedly pointed out, bringing the peace process to its logical conclusion and

for statute writing to pick up pace as not even a year remains as per the agreed schedule.

Now that the door has opened with the House in business, the government hopes to take up some of the urgent issues at hand. In this connection, PM Nepal has always referred to the right action as regards the case of the Maoist combatants in the various cantonments. He has preferred to provide a six-month deadline as to when the peace process would be completed.

But, how? The biggest problem therein is how the Maoist combatants would be sorted as per their qualification to be integrated into the Nepal Army. It is a difficult proposition because of the technicalities involved. It is easier said than done. It is not clear as to the basis on which the prime minister has come up with a six-month time frame. It is a difficult task by any standard and with the present coalition the going cannot be as easy as PM Nepal may have presumed. Yet, he seems to have been bolstered by being able to convince not only the major partner NC and the main opposition the Maoists, but also given a sense of well-being to the other government partners, particularly with the piece meal induction of respective ministers.

A litmus test has ended by making it possible for the Maoists to make a safe landing in spite of their rigid stance for obstructing House business for so long, The 2009/2010 budget will be another reflection as to how the government wants to proceed.

Besides, the breakdown in the law and order situation is yet to be taken up seriously. This leaves the people wondering as to the presence of a government in place. In this context, the UML-led administration is so engrossed in resolving inter-party squabbles that thoughts seems to have escaped on getting the law enforcement mechanism dynamic, and the relief to the people has proved elusive. Undoing the past government’s mistakes are not only the entrusted task, new avenues for establishing that the government of the majority of parties in the House is in action has to be conveyed. The next few weeks will be crucial as to the dexterity with which the government can chart its path through the troubled waters.

Slow going

An epidemic of diarrhoea has killed 61 persons since April in the remote Jajarkot district. Most of the deaths could have been avoided had those affected access to health services. Furthermore, since most cases of diarrhoea can be avoided by observing hygiene this outbreak of the disease could have been prevented had awareness been raised amongst the villagers about it. That it took the government so long to act months after the epidemic had started raises questions all around for the lives of innocent people are involved and many casualties could have been avoided had help been forthcoming immediately.

Though late, now a health team is to be stationed in the affected villages of the district equipped with medics and medicine. In the meantime, a team of medicos led by the Health Minister has visited the affected areas and now a rescue mission is being carried out to reach out to the people in need of medical attention. Since people continue to fall ill from other ailments as well which are preventable, the authorities should always be on

the alert so that they are able to provide timely treatment to those in need without fail.