The High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) since it formation, with late Girija Prasad Koirala’s stewardship, has been in the news as an attempt to resurrect the sagging political morale that is evident in the dealings of every political party. It had its weight because of the grouping of all the topmost leaders of the Big Three political parties, despite the fact remaining that it had neither any constitutional standing nor did it come to being with the people’s mandate. Notwithstanding all that, HLPM had the power to create ripples whenever late Koirala, UCPN (M) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and UML head Jhala Nath Khanal sat down for its meeting. The reason that does not defy anyone was that these three leaders had the standing that could make even the most improbable task materialize. That created the hope that the mechanism could find a concrete way out of the political impasse that had the country, in a sense, hostage. With Koirala’s death, a void was evidently felt not only for the country but for his dream project namely the HLPM to lift the country to a new height through informal level talks leading to vital decisions that could have national implications for the better. This has been the reason for a rather non-descript tug-of-war to lead the mechanism.
The first few days into the mourning period for Koirala, a sort of solidarity among the leaders of the political parties was visible, but the time has come for the basics to be tackled. With the sense of commitment being floated in recent days with growing frequency, the HLPM meeting has taken place. It has shown its aggressive character by lashing out at the those who have in recent days been indulging in speaking against the glorious entry of the country into republicanism, federalism and secularism. This united stance of the HLPM stakeholders indicate that they are in for business and not standing silent when attempts are made albeit verbally against the achievements made so far in the interest of the people and the country. In simply making this single rejection, the participating HLPM major party leaders have made is clear that they are for the promulgation for the statue within the stipulated date that is May 28. The pledges have been made, but the whole thing rests on how they will achieve what they have stood for within the less than two months that remain for the statute drafting task. The most positive aspect of such a vow is that the leaders concerned are aware of the repercussions if the May 28 bandwagon is missed for any reason.
It would not be out of place to suggest that the present situation with Girija Prasad Koirala no longer in our midst has created a sort of loss of words as well as action. But, the gradual pace has to pick up to face the reality with all its stiff challenges overstepping the emotional boundaries of two weeks. Now, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is all out on parleys with various fringe political parties on the move ahead at a time when a change of guards is being widely floated. But, focusing on the completion of the constitution drafting holds more water than the power play politics of toppling the government. The HLPM can make a difference.
There is no doubt that the increasing vehicular traffic in Kathmandu is responsible for the high level of air pollution. The capital city has the dubious record of being one of the most polluted cities in the world. The high pollution level also has adverse impact on the health of its denizens. Every day numerous new vehicles are added to the already many that are already plying on the roads. Now the pollutants are in the lungs, brains, circulating in the veins to make a quick story of life for the Kathmanduites. And that is no fool’s story but a reality check.
To get the air cleared, the vehicles ought to be numbered which could be first doing away with the ancient monsters on the roads. The suggested idea to gear up the public transport system could also help. Why not strictly implement the emission tests and bar the ones that flunk it. But, going by the looks of it, nothing’s going to happen any time soon. There are many suggestions on widening roads,
better traffic management and so on but nothing seems to be on the anvil, and that means breathing in the highly polluted will not get the break that we all want at the earliest.