THT 10 years ago: Prachanda’s letter evokes knee-jerk reactions

Kathmandu, July 25, 2006

Maoist supremo Prachanda’s letter to UN saying the government of Nepal had, by writing unilaterally and secretively to the UN seeking its help in decommissioning of the Maoists’ arms only, violated its agreement with them, evoked predictable reactions today.

Deputy Prime Minister Amik Sherchan said an agreement had been reached between the seven-party alliance and the Maoists that they would simultaneously send separate letters to the UN.

“The PM, before he went to Bangkok, had directed me to send the letter to UN after consultations with the Maoists, but then Prachhanda was busy outside the Valley,” he said. “I along with Dr Ram Sharan Mahat had even drafted the letter.

Now the government and the Maoists have sent their letters, which, however, should not be against the spirit of the 8-point agreement,” he added He also said that the agreement should not be interpreted according to one’s interests.

He said the political parties, civil society and the Maoists should organise a “broader discussion” to form an ‘interim arrangement’ before a Constituent Assembly election.

Asked how the UN’s assessment team arriving tomorrow would work when the Maoists have disagreed on the contents of the government’s letter to UN, Serchan said: “This should not be made an issue.

It should not be expected that the UN would begin work here just because the assessment team is coming. It is only a preliminary mission.”

It was a king-size scam, PAC told

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Amik Serchan, and the Minister for Finance, Dr Ram Saran Mahat, today admitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that distribution of money as treatment assistance to people, including princess Helen Shah, was an irregularity.

“This is a case of irregularities because money was given to those who had access to the authority,” Serchan said citing the case of princess Shah, who received 90,896 sterling pound and 57,735 US dollars on two different occasions when she had been to the UK and Thailand for treatment.

“There should be a policy with definite criteria for the government to provide free treatment to those whose cases are certified by the medical board,” said Serchan, adding that the aid must not be provided only because someone is a national icon but it should be provided to those who are needy financially. Dr Mahat said: “This is a defective system.

There should be a provision to provide treatment aid, the cabinet should not get involved. It should be done by the Ministry of Health.”