EDITORIAL: Spoiling the talks

People of the affected districts should be given a chance by asking them whether they want to be part of the two Pradeshes as sought by the agitators

The Madhes-based parties have once again intensified their agitation in some parts of the Tarai-Madhes despite the fact that they are also engaged in talks with the ruling and main opposition Nepali Congress over the contentious constitutional issues. The agitating parties also took part in the Legislature-Parliament and let it pass the Bill related to the formation of the National Authority for Reconstruction. They showed willingness to hold talks with the three major parties commanding more than a two-thirds majority in the House after the major parties came up with a three-point road map to end the political deadlock that has put normal life of the people off gear due to the blockade on the customs points. After the recently-held talks with the ruling and main opposition ended inconclusively the Madhesi parties again intensified their agitation clashing with the police in Birgunj, Parsa and Gaur, Rautahat. Scores of Madhesi cadres and security personnel were injured when both the sides clashed against each other.

According to the three-point road map, the ruling and main opposition NC have proposed that proportional inclusion of all the marginalized communities, including the Madhesis, shall be ensured in all state mechanisms through the constitutional amendment, the issue of reviewing the boundaries of the seven federal units shall also be settled through a political committee and parliamentary constituencies shall be allocated based on population in a manner keeping intact at least one constituency to the existing districts. For this the government has tabled a constitutional amendment Bill and the major parties have also expressed commitment that the boundary issue will be settled within three months from the date of the first amendment to the constitution. But the Madhes-centirc parties are adamant that the proposal amending the constitution will not address their 11-point demands that they have put forth to the major parties. However, some of the demands, including the creation of two Pradeshes in the entire Tarai-Madhes from Jhapa in the east to Kanchanpur in the west, equal right even to the naturalized citizens, proportional and inclusive recruitment in the Nepali Army and the concept of multi-nationalism, in the 11-point charter are something new in the eight-point agreement reached with the then Girija Prasad Koirala-led government in 2008.

The major parties have made it clear that a serious deliberation is needed about redrawing the boundaries of the federal units before reaching any deal with the agitating parties. In this regard, public opinion of the disputed five districts – Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari in the east and Kailali and Kanchanpur in the west – is imperative before any decision is taken at the political level. People of these districts should be given a chance by asking them whether they want to be part of the two Pradeshes as sought by the agitators. What is the most worrying scenario of the agitating parties is that they are applying dual strategy: engaging the major political parties in the talks and, at the same time, intensifying the violent agitation in the border areas disrupting supplies of essential commodities. By doing this, they are spoiling the environment for talks and losing political credibility.

Crime control

In a bid to make the police more effective and efficient the Metro Police Office has made public its action plans for 2016. There are eight action plans including the maximum use of state-of-the-art technologies with scientific use of available resources and effective security, among others. The police personnel would be trained to use scientific technologies such as polygraphs and CCTVs. Effective use of these would go a long way in controlling crime. The police would try to place the right person at the right place. The police would also strictly enforce the reward and punishment system. Corruption would also not be tolerated and promotions and transfers would be made in a transparent manner.The police would certainly do with these reforms for effective crime control and investigations. The need for administrative reforms cannot be overemphasized. Meanwhile, the police would continue its ‘service with a smile’ campaign which has proved to be very popular. The police also have a crucial role before them to prevent crimes.