News Digest – Federalism (October 1 – 7)


Administrative Issues: On October 3, locals, political parties, social organizations, members of the business community, and other organizations organized a protest in Province 5 against government decision to name Dang as the capital. The protesters demanded that the government of Province 5 should declare Butwal as the capital. The proposal was tabled in the Provincial Assembly after the decision of the NCP chairmen KP Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. However, on October 6, the Province 5 Provincial Assembly of named the province as Lumbini and Dang as its capital by a two-third majority.

Despite the fact that provincial assembly was formed three years ago, Province 1 has not decided its provincial name and capital. On May 2, 2019, the provincial secretary sent a noticed to the lawmakers to register its name and capital for immediate finalization. Similarly, Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai had announced a commitment to finalize the provincial and name and the capital city immediately, but it has not been finalized. Now, the issue of naming Province 1 as Koshi or Sagarmatha is under discussion.

On September 30, the Provincial Assembly of Gandaki Pradesh endorsed the provincial police bill. In the bill, Gandaki Pradesh police can hire, authorize, and mobilize forces on its own.

Development Issues: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai inaugurated three airports in Sudurpashchim Pradesh—Patan of Baitadi, Chainapur of Bajhang, and Dipayal of Doti.

Province 1 has reached an agreement to expand Biratnagar Airport as an international airport. In the agreement, the federal government will share 50%, the provincial government 40%, and the Biratnagar Metropolitan city 10% for the acquisition of land required for the expansion of the airport. The existing 1,500-meter runway of the airport will be extended to 3,000 meters.

COVID-19 Response: A team of the parliamentary Sub-Committee under the Education and Health Committee of the Federal parliament visited Province 1, 2, and Bagmati Pradesh to inspect and monitor the Corona pandemic. The team monitored the three tiers governments’ coordination in Corona response. The team also inspected provincial hospitals and its facilities. The team informed that Province 2 lacks specialist health workers, isolation wards, ventilators, and other equipment. Similarly, the team also informed that the private hospitals have not allocated 20% and 33% for Corona treatment.

According to Senior Public Health Specialist Mahesh Maskey, at least 800 ICU beds and 100 ventilators will be needed in the Kathmandu Valley within the next two months due to excessive number of Coronavirus patients in the valley.

Relief distribution: On October 4, the Gandaki Pradesh government distributed relief packages to flood victims of Dhorpatan Municipality, Nisikhola rural municipality, and Tamankhola rural municipality. At least 22 members lost their lives and 15 members went missing in the natural disaster. The government provided Rs. 50,000 each to 37 deceased families. Similarly, the provincial government provided Rs. 2.1 million to the 42 disaster-affected families in the western area of Baglung.

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