Room for correction

Three persons were killed and scores of others wounded on Monday when police opened fire on protesters who took to the streets demanding that the Mid-Western Region – Karnali, Bheri and Rapati zones – be kept integrated while carving out Pradeshes. The Special Committee of the Constitutional Political-Dialogue and Consensus Committee (CPDCC) had Saturday mid-night decided to carve out six Pradeshes which was endorsed by the CPDCC. The people in the Mid-Western Region and the Tharus in Kailali district are opposed to the Special Committee’s decision to arrange some districts in other Pradeshes. The people in Surkhet, Salyan, Dailekh and Jajarkot, the four districts of the Mid-Western Region, want all districts in the region to be kept in a single Pradesh. People in the Karnali zone have also demanded that the largest zone be made a separate Pradesh. They do not want to be part of the Far-Western Region. The people have also formed spontaneous struggle committees to get their demand of an integrated Mid-Western Region as a Pradesh addressed by the CPDCC. No major protests have so far been reported in other regions. It means that people are satisfied with the boundaries of the proposed Pradeshes.

What the people should understand is that their agitations should not derail the constitution making process

After the people’s agitation turned violent, top leaders of the major political parties yesterday held an emergency meeting and issued a joint statement calling the people to remain calm. Leaders of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and MJF-Democratic, signatories of the 16-point deal, have assured the agitating groups or people of trying their best to address their concerns within a couple of days. They have said that there is still room for adjusting the proposed boundaries of the six Pardeshes till the last moment of endorsing the new constitution by a two-thirds majority of the Constituent Assembly and appealed to them to call off their agitations and come up with their suggestions through peaceful channels. The leaders seem to have realized that there was some inconsistency while delineating the boundaries in the Mid-Western Region which shares the largest territory.

As federalism is quite a new issue for Nepalis and the political parties, it is natural that some kind of disputes have arisen over the delineation of the boundaries of the Pradeshes. Considering the country’s size and distribution of population by castes, ethnic composition, language, culture and geography, the Special Committee has demarcated the boundaries of all the Pradeshes in a manner that all the Pradeshes have an access to either side of the country’s international borders. An easy access to the country’s international borders or customs points is the unimpeded right of all the Pradeshes and, it is also equally necessary to ensure uninterrupted movements of the people and goods for overall development and shared prosperity of all the federal units. The major parties, however, should take positively the genuine concerns raised by the people who do not want to be divided from the region where they have been living together for ages. What the people should understand is that their agitations should not derail the constitution-making process.

Building code

Most of the buildings that collapsed or were damaged in the April 25 mega earthquake and subsequent aftershocks were found to have violated the building code. We need a new building code that should be strictly followed. In the absence of the new National Building Code and building construction criteria those wishing to build new houses are unable to get the blueprints from the municipality. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has said that such revised building codes would be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval in a couple of days.

The municipalities are no longer entertaining applications for building new houses till the new building code is passed by the government. According to the revised draft of the building code, the builders of modern multi-storey structures will now be required to meet international requirements. Buildings being built taller than three storeys would be required to put up billboards clearly mentioning the name of the engineer concerned and the date on which the blueprint to build them was approved.