The committee spent Rs 1.8 million on its India tour and Rs 11 million to pay three experts
RUPANDEHI, Oct 3: Although the Province 5 Government had formed a Special Committee to pick the name of the province and its permanent capital, it is preparing to endorse the name and capital at the direct intervention of the chairmen duo of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), KP Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Chief Minister (CM) of the province, Shankar Pokhrel, one of the confidants of PM Oli, was successful in getting the chairmen duo to reach an agreement in picking Deukhuri of Dang district as the permanent capital of the province. Sources say that CM Pokhrel won the confidence of the two chairmen for his crucial role in resolving the internal rift of the party recently.
Though the Constitution of Nepal has authorized the provincial assembly to endorse its name and capital, the Province 5 Government did not table the proposal to this effect in the last three years after provincial assembly elections were held in December, 2017.
The assembly, however, formed a 15-member Special Committee comprising lawmakers from the parties represented in the provincial legislature on August 9, 2018. The committee submitted its report to the provincial government through the provincial assembly in November last year recommending Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Dang as the three probable places for the permanent capital.
The provincial government tabled the proposal at the assembly on October 2, naming the province as Lumbini and designating Dang’s Deukhuri as the capital, 10 months after the committee handed over its report.
While the government is claiming that the proposal was tabled based on the report of the Special Committee, members of the committee said that the recently-tabled proposal to name the province and fix its permanent capital in Deukhuri of Dang and Shit Ganga of Arghakhanchi does not go with their recommendation. “The name of the province was picked according to our report. However, our suggestion on the capital was not acknowledged,” said a provincial lawmaker representing the ruling NCP, Bishnu Panthi. He also added that he is not going to follow the party whip; he will rather use his rights as a lawmaker.
Another member Kalpana Pandey accused the provincial government of tabling the bill all of a sudden. “I wonder why the government formed the committee as the latter’s recommendations were not taken seriously.”
The Special Committee’s report has not been made public yet.
Rs 4.2 million goes in vain
The Special Committee headed by Dipendra Kumar Pun spent as much as Rs 4,216,525 during its 16-month term. Coordinator Pun was also given a personal vehicle.
The committee had not only collected suggestions from the people in all 12 districts of the province but also visited Chandigarh and Haryana of India for the same purpose. The huge amount was spent owing to several rounds of meeting and appointments of experts.
Of the amount, Rs 1.1 million was spent on paying the experts alone. After the committee prepared its preliminary report, CM Pokhrel urged the committee to include the suggestions from the experts for a wider acceptance of the report. Consequently, geographical expert Dr Krishna Pooudel, security expert Shiva Ram Pradhan and environmentalist Dr Uddhav Raj Khadka were appointed. A total of Rs 1,082,017 was paid to them as remuneration.