PM's address full of promises

Quake victims to get Rs 300,000 as grant, 500,000 as loan

Published On: September 9, 2016 03:00 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

100 public transport buses to be operated in major cities
Electric billing system in taxis to be introduced in capital in six months
Money to bring back bodies of dead Nepali migrant workers up from Rs. 500,000 to Rs 700,000.
 3 hydropower projects of 1,200 megawatt to be built with local resources

KATHMANDU, Sept 9: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday made a raft of promises to the public, one month after  assuming office. 

In an hour-long address in parliament, Dahal vowed to expedite the constitution implementation process, bringing the agitating political players on board, as well as accelerate the reconstruction task and provide more facilities to the public. He also unveiled some new plans in his address. 

Dahal's statement comes just two months after the endorsement of the budget for the ongoing fiscal year, and it was similar to a budget speech. 

Prime Minister Dahal said that his government will use its full strength for finalizing the number and delineations of the local units by mid-October through political consensus. 
While addressing the parliament meeting, Prime Minister Dahal announced an increase by another Rs 100,000 in the grant assistance amounts to be provided to earthquake victims for rebuilding houses destroyed by earthquake last year. “Quake victims will get Rs 300,000 as grant assistance, another 300,000 will be provided as a loan without interest under group guarantee, and also 200,000 under a soft loan scheme for self-employment.  In this fashion, quake victims will now get in total Rs 800,000 from the government,” said Dahal. Under existing policy, the total amount of grant and loan of both types totals Rs 500,000. He also said that the government is hopeful of receiving the assistance money pledged earlier by donor agencies and the international community at the earliest.

Promising to control the rampant blackmarket and syndicates in public transport, Dahal announced that government-owned buses will run in major cities across the country within six months. He announced 100 public buses for cities such as Kathmandu, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Dhangadhi, among others. “People who use taxis in Kathmandu will enjoy an electronic billing system within the next six months,” he said. 
Dahal's plans also include establishing a university and a government-run medical college in each of the seven provinces. He further announced the provision of pensions for farmers, something which was announced by a Maoist minister in the previous government.

Promises for migrant workers

Prime Minister Dahal promised to introduce an effective system for the search and repatriation of  Nepali migrant workers stranded abroad. “The government will also provide Rs 500,000 as seed money for those Nepali migrant workers serving jail terms for failing to pay blood money, and help seek additional money from Nepali communities inside and outside the country,” said Dahal.

Likewise, Dahal also announced an increase in the amount for bringing back the bodies of Nepali migrant workers dying abroad from Rs 500,000 to Rs 700,000.

During his speech, Dahal announced the  building of  three hydro-power projects with a capacity of over 1,200 megawatts, with resources collected through public share issues. He also announced that one industrial plant will be set up in each of the seven provinces through public-private partnership. 

Main opposition party CPN-UML Vice Chairman Bhim Rawal said that though Dahal's announcement was positive it was unlikely to be implemented due to lack of financial sources. “He announced some new mega projects that aren't included in the recently-endorsed  budget of the government. I wonder how he will manage the resources for those projects,” said Rawal in his reaction while emerging from the parliament building after Dahal's speech. 

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