THT 10 YEARS AGO: Peace process crawls, PLA adjustment pit looms

Kathmandu, August 16, 2007

Even as the verification of the Maoist army proceeds in fits and starts, the controversial issue of “adjustment” of the Maoist army, a major irritant to the peace process, remains unaddressed.

A special committee chaired by Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel is preparing to “monitor, adjust and rehabilitate the Maoist combatants.” However, there are serious differences among the parties on defining the issue of adjustment.

Maoist lawmaker Janardan Sharma considers ‘adjustment’ as a ‘merger’ of the Maoist Army with the Nepali Army, while a General of the Nepal Army sees the ‘adjustment’ as their reintegration in society. “They (Maoists) had disintegrated from democratic society, not from the Army. Now they are back and therefore should be re-integrated in the society,” said the General. “The issue of security sector reform, however, is not something that Nepal Army can resist,” said Shekhar Koirala, the Prime Minister’s aide on the peace process. “It is a political decision, and we feel that there should be reforms in the NA.”

The Maoists are also reluctant to let go of the military structure without guarantee of appropriate political results. They believe that restructuring of the state is only possible with restructuring of the army.

According to Minister Poudel, special committee secretary and Secretary at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction Janak Raj Joshi is still drafting the ToR and the committee will meet soon to finalise it. Shekhar Koirala believes that the issue is so important that “it is high time that the committee met at least one hour every day.”

Govt convenes meet on workers’ demands

Kathmandu, August 16, 2007

The Ministry of Labour and Transport Management today held a discussion on the dispute between the All Nepal Communication, Press and Publication Workers’ Union and APCA Nepal.

The meeting was chaired by joint secretary Bishnu Prasad Lamsal and coordinated by Suresh Shrestha. Krishna Prasad Pokhrel, Poorna Singh Khatri and Tekraj Sharma represented the APCA Nepal at the meeting, while Arjun Kumar Gautam, Khadananda Pokhrel, Durga Prasad Neupane and Chiranjivi Acharya represented the trade union. Some days ago, union leaders had filed an application at the ministry, demanding that a consultation be held to look into the demands of the workers affiliated to the union.

Gautam claimed that they disrupted the distribution of The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post after the management did not pay heed to their demands. “We requested the management to listen to us, but it did not. We took this step after it suspended our colleagues,” Gautam said.