THT 10 years ago: Maoists for 33 pc seats in interim parliament

Kathmandu, July 21, 2006

Maoist leader Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai has told the visiting European delegation that his party was vying for an interim parliament, which would constitute one third representation from the seven-party alliance, the CPN-M and civil society.

“A few members of our delegation met the Maoists’ second-in-command and he talked about an interim parliament in which he demanded one third representation of the SPA, one third of the Maoists and one third of civil society,” said Neena Gill, the delegation’s leader, wrapping up the visit today.

She said the ‘cordial’ discussions between the delegation members and Dr Bhattarai concentrated on the issue of arms management. Dr Bhattarai did not give any assurance of ending extortion to the EU delegates, according to Gill.

Luisa Morgantini, a team member, who also met Dr Bhattarai, said: “I have an impression that the Maoists are serious in returning to competitive politics, the only thing is that they are bargaining for more.”

Gill said the EU would fund the government of Nepal in its efforts to reach out to the needy. She said the Maoists are also in need of funds. “All will get equal aid; we are not going to dole out money to any politic al party or group,” Gill said.

She did not meet Maoist leaders because “the EU has a policy of not meeting the Maoists until they disarm.”

She said the question of decommissioning of the National Army should not arise as it cannot be treated on par with the Maoist army.

ADB voices concern over Melamchi project issue

Country Director of the Asian Development Bank Dr Sultan Hafiz Rahman today said the multi-million dollar Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP) could face a high risk of non-implementation if the authorities concerned are not able to facilitate an early implementation of the project.

“If the authorities fail to pave way for the smoother implementation of the project, all that I can say is that the project could come under high risk (of non-implementation),” Dr Rahman said.

The project, which has been facing inordinate delay in its implementation due to the lack of law and order in and around the project site in Sindhupalchowk, is already behind by five years.

It was supposed to be commissioned by the year 2006, while the revised plan has pushed the commissioning stage to 2011.

Dr Rahman was reacting on the latest development whereby the locals of Melamchi have launched yet another agitation to press for their demand of a “one-family-one-job” scheme.

The region, which has 14 VDCs, has a population of about 40,000, with the number of families at just around 4,000.

The locals have locked up the project offices since yesterday, while a committee formed to look into the demands has not yet met, MDWP officials said.