Lawmakers of the main opposition Nepali Congress stand from their seats to obstruct parliamentary proceedings at Legislature-Parliament at New Baneshwar on Thursday. (Dipesh Shrestha/Republica)
KATHMANDU, June 24:Main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) obstructed the parliament meeting on Thursday, demanding government's answer on the progress on grants distribution to the earthquake victims for the reconstruction of their damaged houses.
Opposition lawmakers stood up from their seats and stalled the House meeting saying that the government did not inform the parliament about the progress made on grants distribution despite a ruling by the House that it should do so.
As demanded by Nepali Congress lawmakers, the parliament had on Monday ordered the government to inform the parliament about the progress made on the task of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Earlier, NC parliamentary party meeting on Thursday morning decided to obstruct parliament meeting if the government did not furnish details in the parliament regarding reconstruction tasks.
NC has demanded immediate release of Rs 200,000 grants relief to quake victims in lump sum unlike the government's decision to release the amount in three installments. The party has also accused the ruling CPN-UML of recruiting party cadres and entrusting party-affiliated non-governmental organizations for the reconstruction tasks and politicizing the selection of quake victims eligible for the reconstruction grant.
After opposition lawmakers obstructed the House meeting, Speaker Onsari Gharti requested them to wait till Friday for the government to furnish details and allow the House to conclude budget discussion in time. As NC lawmakers said they cannot wait till Friday and continued their obstruction, the speaker then adjourned the parliament meeting till Friday.
“The time given to the government was already enough, but the government turned a deaf ear to our requests. It shows the government's insensitiveness toward the reconstruction and rehabilitation work,” said NC chief whip Chinkaji Shrestha.
However, Minister for Law and Justice Agni Kharel said the government could not furnish details on Thursday as it was still preparing a report based on the details provided by various government agencies. “We are set to provide the progress report on reconstruction and relief distribution in parliament on Friday,” said Kharel emerging from the House meeting.