EDITORIAL: Roadmap for peace

Now the agitating parties must show political maturity by accepting the roadmap that will ensure peace, stability and prosperity

There is a positive indication that the three-month old Madhes agitation which has claimed the lives of over 55 people, including nine police personnel, is going to end after the government endorsed the three-point roadmap to address the concerns raised by the agitators. The council of ministers on Sunday endorsed the three-point roadmap to end the Madhes agitation that has bled the national economy dry due to the prolonged blockade of essential commodities including the petroleum products, medicine and foodstuff. As agreed earlier by the major political parties the three-point roadmap include: proportional inclusion of the marginalized communities, Madhesis and ethnic communities in all state mechanism, election constituencies to be delineated based on the distribution of population keeping intact at least one constituency to the existing districts and reviewing the boundaries of the federal units at a political level within three months. The government has already tabled a Bill to amend the constitution to incorporate the proportional inclusion as fundamental right and constituency delineation based on population, two major demands of the agitating Madhesi parties. The issue of citizenship will also be addressed without jeopardising national interest.

As a result of the violent agitation since the promulgation of the new constitution on September 20, normal life across the country has come to a grinding halt due to the shortage of essential commodities caused by the blockade on the border points. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa who is also the government chief negotiator invited the leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front to his office and informed them about the government decision to move ahead with the constitutional amendment process. Thapa also apprised his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, about the preparation being made to amend the constitution. Initial reactions of the UDMF leaders were positive as they have said that it is “a step forward” in thawing the bitter relation between the agitators and major parties. If the things move ahead according to plan the constitution will be amended within a couple of days.

India has also welcomed the Nepal government’s decision to amend the constitution to ensure proportional inclusion and delineation of electoral constituencies based on population. The Government of India has “welcomed these developments as positive steps that will create the basis for resolution of the current impasse in Nepal”. India which did not initially welcome the adoption of the constitution has also now assured to normalize relations between the two countries and easing supplies of essential commodities. India was deeply concerned at the unrest stemming from internal differences in Nepal. India has also urged the Nepali political forces to demonstrate the necessary maturity and flexibility to find a satisfactory solution to the constitutional issues within an “agreed upon deadline”, meaning that the boundary issue must be settled within three months as promised by the major political parties. This time India has shown good gesture by encouraging both the sides for a negotiated settlement of the constitutional issues. Now the agitating parties must show political maturity by accepting the roadmap that will ensure peace, stability and prosperity.

Truant staffers

Government staffers playing truant in offices is nothing new. Many of them are absent from their workstation without reporting and therefore being found negligent. The government offices should be open at 10 am sharp, but in most offices the government employees usually report late. This has given a negative impression about government offices. Thus, it comes as no surprise that 63 government employees were found absent in Jhapa when they were supposed to be at their workplace recently. The erring government employees have been summoned to the District Administration Office.

The government should take strong action against the defaulters and punish them. At the same time their staffers should be punctual. After all they are supposed to serve the public. Another thing that strict action should be taken against is the violation of the dress-code which so far seems to be taken very lightly. What is the purpose of such a code when it is not being implemented?