PM Dahal shouldering responsibilities of six ministries

Published On: February 7, 2023 01:30 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, Feb 7: The responsibilities of three more ministries have falen upon the shoulders of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal after the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) quit the government. Currently, the six ministries are under him, including the office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

Earlier, Dahal was also in charge of the Ministry of Forest and Environment and the Ministry of Youth and Sports along with the Prime Minister's Office. On January 26, the Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship of Chairman of RSP Rabi Lamichhane, who was also the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister at the time, would not be retained, and his MP and ministerial positions were lost. After that, the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was vacant, was held by Dahal himself. Three RSP ministers, Shishir Khanal, DP Aryal and Tosima Karki submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Dahal on Sunday. Prime Minister Dahal himself has taken over the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, which were left by Khanal and Aryal.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dahal took charge of 19 ministries, including the Prime Minister's Office, for 22 days from December 26 to January 16. At that time, only three ministers - Narayankaji Shrestha (physical infrastructure and transport), Bishnu Paudel (finance ministry) and Rabi Lamichhane (home ministry) had their responsibilities defined. The remaining 19 ministries were held by Prime Minister Dahal alone. At that time the Council of Ministers had eight members. But four ministers Abdul Khan, Rajendra Rai, Jwalakumari Sah and Damodar Bhandari were not given the responsibility of any ministry for 22 days and they remained as ministers without portfolio for a long time.

Prime Minister Dahal and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli failed to reach an agreement on the distribution of ministries, for 22 days. As a result, Prime Minister Dahal took charge of 19 ministries alone.

Dahal was appointed as the Prime Minister on December 25 and took the oath of office and secrecy the next day on December 26. On January 17, he expanded the Cabinet. Lamichhane resigned after the Supreme Court's verdict on January 26, and the RSP was out of the government on February 5.

According to the Prime Minister's Office sources, the absence of ministers without portfolios will have a major impact on the activities and policy making of the relevant ministries. In the absence of the ministers, the secretaries and senior staff of the ministry cannot take important decisions. If an important decision has to be made, they should go to the Prime Minister's Office with the file. "Rather than going to the prime minister's office with files day after day, the senior staff has been kept aside to do important work as much as possible," said the source. The Ministry of Forests and Environment has been without a minister for a long time. The Ministry of Forest was without a minister for about one and a half months when the tenure of the then government led by NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba was coming to an end. After the Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) exited the government, the forest ministry was left without a minister. Even after the formation of the new government, the forest ministry has not been able to get leadership.

Three ministers leave residence, and the dispute remains

Three outgoing ministers of RSP Rabi Lamichhane, Shishir Khanal and DP Aryal have left the ministerial quarters in Pulchok. However, they have not yet submitted the residence keys to the Federal Secretariat Construction and Management Office. They have just said that they have left the minister's quarters. An employee of the management office said, "Until the discussion is done in the office, it will be understood that the minister's quarters are being used legally." The then Home Minister Lamichhane was living in the newly-built D-2 block while Aryal in B-4. And Khanal was in A-5.

To manage the ministers’ quarters and provide facilities to the ministers, the management office has opened its unit office on the premises of the ministers’ quarters. In that office, the management office has assigned two employees round the clock. According to the management office, Lamichhane moved to the minister's quarters a day after he was appointed as the home minister. 

After a change in the government, the management office provides new items for the new ministers. The staff of the management office replaces all the furniture used by the ministers and members of the ministers, including carpets, curtains, sofas etc. In this way, the cost of buying new goods for the ministers’ quarters is Rs 0.5 million to Rs 0.6 million.

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