EDITORIAL: Towards normalcy

PM Oli’s main task now is to win confidence of agitating Madhes-based parties so that the vexed issues can be resolved through dialogue

After being sworn in as new Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held his first cabinet meeting and authorized Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa to talk to the Indian authorities to bring an end to the disruption of the essential commodities, including the petroleum products. The import of petroleum products and other essential commodities have been disrupted as a result of protests by Madhes-based parties at various customs points since the promulgation of the new constitution on September 20. The previous government led by Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala had also assigned his foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey to hold talks with the Indian authorities but to no avail. Following Oli’s election as the new PM things have started improving as the Indian side has allowed the cargo trucks to enter Nepal with ease though it will some days or at least a week to fully return to normalcy as the import of petroleum products had been disrupted for over two weeks. Reports from various customs points suggest that oil tankers and bullets carrying LPG are entering the country without any obstruction from within and outside the country. It all became possible after the Indian PM Narendra Modi extended a congratulatory message to Oli upon his election to the prime ministerial post.

On the other hand, the United Democratic Madhesi Front which has been  agitating for the last 58 days has also decided to relax its agitation keeping in mind the fast approaching Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals. The front has decided to let the banks and financial institutions open during the festive season. It is expected that the crippling situation that brought the country’s economy to a  standstill will improve in the days to come as the lawmakers associated with the agitating Madhes-centric parties also took part in the PM’s election process held under the new constitution. They had boycotted the constitution-drafting process over their reservations on issues related to demarcation of Pradeshes, inclusion, citizenship and criteria for the delineation of the parliamentary constituencies.

It is important to note that the newly elected PM Oli has also extended an olive branch to the agitating Madhes-based parties vowing to resolve the outstanding issues related to the new constitution through dialogue. He has also taken the initiative to resolve the recent misunderstanding between Nepal and India at the political level which is in the course of improvement, and its impact is being felt at the ground level. PM Oli has stressed that the Nepal-India cooperation is for mutual benefits for  both the countries. Indian PM Modi’s invitation of Oli’s early visit to India is an indication towards re-strengthening of ties between the two countries. PM Oli’s main task now is to win the confidence of the agitating Madhes-based parties so that the vexed issues can be resolved through a negotiated settlement. The agitating parties should also take the PM’s offer of talks positively as the PM has made a formal call to this effect in his first cabinet meeting. Therefore, it is not necessary to continue with the agitation as the major parties have also expressed commitment to amend the constitution.

Charity programme

Non-Resident Nepali Association  (NRNA) is all set to rebuild  1000 houses for the victims of the massive earthquake on April 25 and several strong quakes in its aftermath. Under this charity programme, the NRNA, whose general assembly will elect the new leaders, the main objectives of this organization would be reconstruction and rebuilding for the next two years. Priority would be given to the most affected districts by the quake and those living in poverty, the marginalized and single women.

The NRNA has been doing commendable services to uplift the living standard of the people in their native country from their country of domicile. They are also being encouraged to invest in various development projects which could do with the funds provided. It is not only money matters, but the NRNA also possess skills and knowledge about technology that could help immensely in the reconstruction and rebuilding campaign. This organization is in a position to do so by working with the government and non-governmental organizations and communities.