Parliament session deferred over grant distribution row

Published On: June 25, 2016 01:10 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, June 25: The major opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) obstructed the parliament meeting on Friday again demanding that the government distribute the grant amount of Rs 200,000 to earthquake victims at one go rather than in installments.

The largest party in the Legislature-Parliament, NC, insisted that the total amount must be released at one go so that the earthquake victims living a pathetic life under flimsy huts for nearly 15 months could rebuild their houses destroyed by the devastating earthquakes of April and May last year.

However, the government declined to agree to the demand saying that it was the previous NC-led government that decided to distribute the amount in installments and the present coalition just implemented the same policy.

As the talks between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and main opposition NC leaders couldn't reach any conclusion, Speaker Onsari Gharti issued a notice informing lawmakers about deferral of the scheduled meeting until Sunday.

The parliament session was deferred as NC leaders announced to obstruct the House proceedings.

“We will not allow the speaker to start the House proceedings without first the prime minister ensuring to provide the amount in a lump sum,” NC lawmaker Prakash Sharan Mahat told reporters while emerging from the parliament building after the two-party meeting attended by the prime minister as well as Deuba.

As demanded by opposition lawmakers, the prime minister had arrived at the parliament to inform the House meeting about the government's work progress on distribution of grant assistance to earthquake victims, initiatives taken on rebuilding and resettlement tasks carried out in quake-hit areas.
However, the NC leaders asked the PM if he was going to assure the House that the government will release the grant amount in a lump sum or not.

“The prime minister reiterated that the government will distribute the money on installment basis,” said Mahat, adding that the NC will continuously obstruct the House until the government agrees to provide the amount at one go.

Minister for Law and Justice Agni Kharel of the ruling CPN-UML said that the prime minister couldn't address the House as per the schedule due to obstruction caused by the major opposition party NC.

“As per the existing practice of implementing previous government's decision, we are just guided by the NC-led government's decision and it isn't right for the NC to obstruct the House for the same reason,” said Kharel. “Opposition should understand the urgency of crucial task of constitution implementation that may be hindered by such obstructions.”

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