Nepal Today

Saturday, April 28, 2012

BAIDHYA FACTION PULLS DOWN PORTRAITS OF CHAIRMAN PRACHANDA FROM PARTY OFFICES Kathmandu, 29 April: Baidhya faction in the UCPN (Maoist) has begun pulling down portraits of Chairman Prachanda from offices of state committees, affiliated fraternal organizations and other party offices, Kantipur reports. Chairman Prachanda has been accused of deceiving the communist movement Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE ‘We educed number for integration for lack of agreement of major general and brigadier general.” (Maoist military leader Nanda Kishore Pun, Kantipur, 29 April) Nnnn CONSTITUTION UNCERTAIN WITH DRAFT DELAY SAYS NILAMBAR ACHARYA Kathmandu, 29 April: Constitutional Commi-ttee Chairman Nilambar Acharya said on Saturday that the preparation of the first draft of the constitution within the Constituent Assembly’s May 27 deadline would be difficult if the parties failed to resolve contentious issues at the earliest, The Kathmandu Post reports. He warned that the deadline would not be met if the party leaders kept on seeking extension of the timeframe given by the Constitutional Committee (CC) to reach a compromise. He made this ruling at Saturday’s CC meeting after the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee sought postponement of discussion until Sunday morning. “By looking at the volume of unfinished work and unresolved issues, the task of preparing the first draft within the remaining period seems very tough,” said Acharya. He said the CA Secretariat would require at least 15 days after a political agreement to prepare the first draft and finalise its wordings. Lawmakers at the CC would discuss and endorse the first draft before deciding to refer it to the CA for approval. The delay in forging consensus will make the preparation of the first draft uncertain, as the assembly needs to conduct theoretical discussions on the document before its approval. Earlier, the CC had asked the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee headed by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to present the progress report of talks on the resolution of contentious issues at Saturday’s meeting. While Dahal was absent at the discussion, NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel, on behalf of the subcommittee, requested the committee chair to postpone the meeting till Sunday morning. Poudel said parties were yet to reach an understanding on forms of governance and state restructuring. He urged the CC to wait till Sunday morning, informing that top leaders were trying to narrow down the differences over two issues. Altogether 13 lawmakers expressed their views at Saturday’s meeting and stressed that parties should immediately reach a compromise. They stressed that the Subcommittee should not be allowed another extension of term to find common ground. Time is running out for the new constitution with the Constituent Assembly tenure expiring in less than a month. nnnn WEST SETI TANGLED IN CONFUSION Kathmandu, 29 April: When the Ministry of Energy (MoE) signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGI) for the 750-MW West Seti Project, there were hopes that the much-talked about power project would finally take off, Ashok Thapa writes in The Kathmandu Post. However, even after one-and-half months of the MoU signing, not a single work on the project has been initiated, thanks to the lack of coordination, confusion and ego tussle between government agencies. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and MoE are at variance over concluding the deal with CTGI. The PMO had directed the ministry to hand over the project to the Investment Board, but the ministry says it want to handle the project. PMO officials say the parliamentary Natural Resources and Means Committee (NRMC) directives add to the confusion over the project execution. “The committee directed the government to hand over the project to the Investment Board, but it failed to mention clearly about how the process should begin and who was supposed to initiate it,” said a PMO official. The panel, in its directives, had asked the government to make amendments to the MoU signed with CTGI, change the equity sharing modality and conclude the deal with conditions that extract the maximum benefits for the country. Another confusion is about who should talk to CTGI about the amendments to the MoU. The Investment Board says as the ministry signed the MoU in haste, it is responsible to amend the agreement. But the ministry says its can do nothing amid plans to hand over the project to the board. However, the PMO had instructed the ministry to start talks with CTGI for the MoU amendment and further negotiations. “No progress has been made towards the development of the project due to the ministry,” said another official at PMO. Therefore, the government has not formally informed CTGI about NRMC’s decision. The board says it has not been officially asked by the government to take over the project even after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s instruction. “As per Investment Board Act, we have the legal authority to carry out the project, but we haven’t been formally asked to begin further work,” said a board official. The parliamentary committee had also instructed the government to arrange necessary structure and human resources for the Investment Board to enable it to take ahead the West Seti Project within two weeks. But one-and-a-half months have already passed and the government is yet to follow the instruction. Energy Minister Post Bahadur Bogati said the ministry would resolve the issue in a day or two, calling all the sides for meeting. The ministry has also raised questions over the board’s capacity to handle a large project like West Seti. “The newly formed board does not have adequate human resources to handle the project,” read the ministry’s letter sent to the PMO. MoE Joint Secretary Arjun Karki says the ministry needs a clear answer on whether the board has the required human resources and structure to execute such a mega project. Investment Board CEO Radesh Pant says the board is just a facilitation body and won’t seize the project from the ministry. “The delay over the West Seti deal would send a negative message about Nepal to international investors,” he said. Nnnn


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home