THT 10 years ago: SPA forms task force to speed up peace process

Bhaktapur, July 18, 2006

Leaders of the seven political parties today set up a steering committee and an all-party task force to accelerate peace process and to avoid contradictions in the forthcoming talks with the Maoists, scheduled for Friday.

Participants said the SPA meeting concentrated on possible agenda for Friday’s talks with Maoists, dissolution of House, arms management, political appointments and the PM’s letter to the UN.

The meeting also saw the fringe parties criticising the government and sought the dissolution of House.

“We have set up a steering committee and a task force with members from all the seven parties, which would guide the talks team and provide one-voice statement of the seven-party alliance in the talks with the Maoists,” said NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel, talking to the reporters after the meeting, which took place at the residence of Narayan Man Bijukchhe, chairman of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party.

He added that the steering committee would provide procedural guidelines while the working committee would decide the agenda for the next round of government- Maoist talks.

The steering committee comprises all the top leaders of the seven parties while the task force has 20 members. NC-D chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba said, “We have decided to urge the Maoists to return the seized properties of political activists and allow the displaced people to return to their homes.”

PAC to question Rana, Dhakal, 84 scribes

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives today decided to interrogate former ministers of the royal regime Tanka Dhakal and Shrish SJB Rana and the secretary and stafffers of the ministry of information and communication on Sunday on doling out of money to the journalists, media houses and media organisations during the royal regime to ensure that it got a good press.

This decision was taken after Minister for Information and Communication Dilendra Prasad Badu briefed the PAC.

The Committee also decided that it would interrogate them on why they distributed the amount to the journalists and the media houses and whether the amount actually reached the said persons.

The PAC also decided to summon 84 journalists who according to the ministry, took money from the ministry. “We will call them after recording the statements of the former ministers and the staffers,” chairman of the PAC Chitra Bahadur KC said.

He also directed the ministry to produce details regarding the distribution of the amount under several lists, including the first list naming 84 journalists and some media organizations who, together, were given Rs 5 lakh.