POKHARA, Sept 7: The chief ministers (CMs) of six provinces of the country except for the Karnali Province met on Thursday in Pokhara, marking the first joint meeting of the CMs. They criticized the central government for depriving the provinces of the rights they need. They claimed that the provinces are in dire straits now due to the 'autocratic' mentality of the federal government. They warned the central government that federalism will fail in Nepal if the provincial governments are not given enough authority.
The CM of Province 3, Dormani Poudel said that the provinces are forced to fight for the rights that the constitution has given them. He said, “We have the right over public service and management of provincial police but we have to depend on the central government for that.”
Poudel accused the central government of exerting unnecessary power in the implementation of the budget of the provinces. He added that the central government will be responsible if the federalism fails in Nepal. He complained, “The provinces are left powerless.”
The CM of Province 2, Lal Babu Raut complained that the provincial government is never notified about the reshuffling of government employees which causes problem in the administration of the province. He said, “Now that federalism has been implemented in Nepal all three levels of government should be given the rights they were promised by the constitution.” He also questioned the ethics of the chief district officers in not observing the provincial holidays.
CM of Province 1, Sherdhan Rai said that all the provinces are facing the same problem. “We are now in the first phase of exercising our rights promised by the constitution. And all the CMs have the same problem,” he said, “We are not being given the rights we were promised. All the employees are focused on the central government.”
The CM of Province 5, Shankar Pokharel claimed that the meeting was for the making the united agenda of the provincial governments clear not for creating pressure on the central government. He suggested to the central government to give more rights to the provincial governments if they want a successful implementation of federalism in Nepal.
He also suggested that a constitutional council be formed to divide the resources between the central and provincial governments. He accused the central government of playing an autocratic role in the distribution of resources.
The CM of Gandaki province, Prithivi Subba Gurung accused the central government of trying to poke its nose in the affairs of the provincial governments. He said, “We have been cheated in the distribution of revenues. In a three-layer government system, one has claimed 70 percent of the revenue while the other two levels consisting of 760 local units are left with the remaining 30 percent. No commissions were made for the distribution of the revenue.” He questioned where the federalism was headed when the provinces were not given the authority they need. He said that all these issues raised in the CMs' meeting will be discussed with the prime minister.