KATHMANDU, Dec 7: Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties have criticized the government for not showing seriousness about border security after two ministers skipped a parliamentary summons to answer questions over the issue.
During a meeting of the State Directives, Policy and Liability Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the National Assembly on Friday, lawmakers came down hard on Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Minister for Land Management and Cooperatives Padma Aryal for their failure to appear at the committee as summoned.
Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders including Bhim Rawal and Pampha Bhusal as well as main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) leader Minendra Rijal accused the government of not showing any seriousness over border security despite reports of border encroachment by India in various parts Nepal.
The committee had summoned the two ministers as well as Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa in view of the controversy over a recent map of India showing Kalapani and other Nepali territories inside the Indian border.
Home Minister Thapa alone appeared at the committee, and he said the ministry’s plans to establish border security posts at various strategic points faced a setback after the Ministry of Forests dilly-dallied over making available for the purpose land owned by various forest groups in Darchula district.
Thapa said the ministry’s request for the required land was not approved by the forest ministry.
Bhim Rawal, a former defense minister, flayed the government for lack of coordination among the different ministries and agencies on an issue of national significance. He demanded the presence of forest ministry officials at the parliamentary committee to answer about reluctance in providing land for border security posts.
Former minister and NCP lawmaker Bhusal criticized the government for only focusing on building walls at Singha Durbar, the central secretariat of the government, instead of safeguarding the country’s borders and its people.
NC’s Rijal further demanded that the committee make it mandatory for the absent ministers to be presence at the next meeting. The meeting was adjourned as lawmakers wished to discussion the agenda only in the presence of the line ministers concerned.