November 23, 2015
Nepal’s government had a November 21 deadline, it’s second, to vote in the Reconstruction Bill, which would finally free up relief funds donated by international organizations. The major political parties, in their interminable self-serving struggle for power, once again failed to reach a consensus by the deadline. They were granted one extra day to reach a consensus. But CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Nepali Congress (NC) failed, yet again, to reach a consensus. (It will be remembered that the initially blown deadline was August 1. See my interview with Dr. Govind Raj Pokharel, the then-appointed CEO of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), for more details concerning the August 1 travesty.)
Why the interminable delay, even though it means that nothing substantive has been done to address the woes of quake victims and to carry out the multi-billion dollars’ reconstruction and recovery work in disaster-hit areas?
The major parties are eyeing the post of the CEO of the National Reconstruction Authority, which will be responsible for mobilizing vast sums of money tagged for reconstruction projects. The NC has demanded that its earlier appointee Dr. Govind Pokhrel should be entrusted the job, particularly given his stellar resume and his diligence during the first few months after the quakes. Pokhrel was appointed CEO by the NC-led government, but his appointment was overturned by the new UML government. UML has said a person picked by NC should not hold the post since the authority is an entity of the government of which NC is not a part – a logic this writer fails to comprehend.
NC has also opposed the decision of revising the structure of the authority. A panel under the Bill Committee had proposed a three-tier structure of the authority, namely Directive Committee, Advisory Council, and Executive Committee.
Under the proposed structure, the UML prime minister would chair the Directive Committee and the Advisory Council while the authority’s CEO would lead the Executive Committee. A leader from the main opposition party has been proposed for the post of the vice-chairman of the Directive Committee and the Advisory Council.
For a more detailed backstory, see my recent article published in The Daily Beast: