KATHMANDU, August 20
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has urged the government and three major parties to work together to find solutions to the recurrent problems of flooding and other natural disasters.
In a meeting with top leaders of major parties, President Bhandari said that natural disasters including floods and landslides would keep recurring unless the government develops sustainable strategies to manage the rivers.
Bhandari said that the government should devise appropriate river system in consultation with India to prevent the country’s southern lowlands from inundation.
“Since floods have become a recurring problem, we should think about minimizing damages from the floods instead of just focusing on the relief and rescue works. If dams constructed by India is causing a problem, the prime minister should raise this issue during his India visit,” CPN Maoist Center Vice Chair Narayankaji Shrestha quoted President Bhandari as saying.
President Bhandari’s request comes at a time when the monsoon-induced floods and landslides have caused mayhem in the Tarai plains affecting around 6 million people. The floods have caused losses of lives and properties worth tens of billions of rupees, according to the estimates made by the government.
President Bhandari’s aides said that the head of the state asked leaders to talk with India to develop proper river system so as to find a permanent solution to the problems of flooding in the Tarai.
She also urged the government to ensure prompt rescue, relief, and rehabilitation of people affected by natural calamities.
She also asked leaders to devise appropriate strategies to ensure proper settlement, especially for the Dom, Chamar, and Mushahar communities.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba briefed the president about the works being carried out by the government to bring normalcy in the affected areas. The government has decided to provide Rs 200,000 to 135 people who died due to a natural disaster. The government has also begun distributing Rs 15,000 to backward families and Rs 75 per day for food to all of the affected people.
Besides Deuba and Shrestha, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel and UML Vice Chair Bam Dev Gautam were present during the meeting.
President Bhandari also urged the major parties to work together to implement the new constitution by putting their differences aside, reads a press statement issued by the Office of the President.
Leaders present at the meeting said that the government should look for broader political consensus for constitution amendment.
“Though there is constitutional provision to amend the Constitution by the two-thirds majority, I think it would be good if the major political forces remain united and take the unanimous decision regarding this issue,” a leader present in the meeting quoted President Bhandari as saying.