Nepal Today

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Congress, CPN-UML reach agreement on ministry sharing amid opposition

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 14 June: CPN-UML and Nepali Congress late Saturday agreement on sharing six ministries each nearly three weeks after Madhav Kumar Nepal was installed prime minister.
But two terai parties have protested the deal between the two largest parties in the shaky coalition.
CPN-UML will get the ministries of defence, home, information and communication, peace and reconstruction and tourism and civil aviation.
Nepali Congress has been allocated foreign, local development, health and population, water resources, labour and transport management and law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministries.
President Girija Prasad is expected to submit the division of portfolios of Congress ministers to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal Sunday when the government could be expanded.
Sujata Koirala has been appointed foreign minister but ministries haven’t yet been assigned to other youth leaders Balkrishna Khad, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minendra Rijal, Umakant Chaudhary and Purna Kumar Sharma.
Besides defence minister Bidya Bhandari and finance minister Surendra Pandey, Bhim Rawal, Surendra Pokhrel, Rabindra Shrestha, Rakam Chemjong , Jitu Gautam, Dilli Mahat and Rizwan Ansari were selected for the CPN-UML government team.
Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachedhar demanded what he called important ministries Saturday and threatened to support government from outside if such ministries weren’t allocated to the king-making party.
“We must get the home ministry. This is our stand. Forum should also get the important ministries of water resources, physical planning and transport, education, health, information and communication and local development.
“If we don’t get the ministries of our choice, we’ll lend the government outside support,” Gacheddhar told reporters Saturday.
Hridesh Tripathi of TMLP charged Congress and CPN-UML for sharing major ministries without consultations with coalition partners.
For the first time after 2006, a RPP candidate is being appointed minister confirming a break in consensus politics between seven parties and Maoists that toppled monarchy.
RPP is a party of former monarchists.
Dipak Bohara is likely to join as youth and sports minister.
Chairman Pashupati SJB Rana said the utility of 12-point New Delhi was now over and called for a new understanding between political parties.
One ministry each has also been allocated to CPN-ML and Sadbhavana Party; Dambar Shrestha (CPN-ML) and Rajendra Mahoto (Sadbhavana) are likely to be assigned land reforms management and commerce and supplies ministries respectively.
Before ending a two-day Nepal visit, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert O. Blake urged early government expansion to complete the peace process.
“I encouraged the new government to move quickly to name all the new ministries and the portfolios so that the important work on peace process can begin,” Blake told reporters.
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Guardians close down Valley schools; other details

Kathmandu, 14 June: Guardians Sunday closed down schools in the Valley Sunday.
They are protesting the attempted abduction of fourth grade student Monica Piya last week.
Trader Mahesh Sarda, abducted from Thapathali last Friday, has returned home, Naya Patrika reports.
The family is silent of the details of his release.
Abductors demanded a Rs 70 million ransom.
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Nepali garments unlikely to get duty-free access in USA

Kathmandu, 14 June: US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert O. Blake hinted Saturday Nepal may not get preferential entry for readymade garments as there was ‘some opposition to significantly increase market access’ during an recession.
“Right now there are a number of bills and legislations in the Senate and the House of Representatives and it is hard to characterize where those are going.”
‘The issue of preferential entry did ‘not really come up’ during his two-day Nepal visit that ended Saturday, he told reporters before flying for Bangladesh.
Two senators have introduced a bill in the Senate for duty-free access for Nepali garments in USA.
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Rs 500 entry free for tourists to Pashupatinath

Kathmandu, 14 June: Foreign tourists will be charges Rs 500 for entry into the holy Pashupati area from Monday.
Passhupati Area Development Trust made the announcement Sunday.
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MEDIA GOOGLE

“Monarchy was an obstacle for republican forces. With its falland if a republic can’t be institutionalized, monarchy will still be a threat.”

(Jhalanath Khanal, Kantipur, 14 June)

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