House panel nod to Reconstruction BillSeven months after the April 25 earthquake, the Legislation Committee of Parliament has finally approved the Reconstruction Authority Bill, paving the way for discussion in the full House.
Seven months after the April 25 earthquake, the Legislation Committee of Parliament has finally approved the Reconstruction Authority Bill, paving the way for discussion in the full House.
A committee meeting on Wednesday approved the Bill along with a note of dissent from the main opposition Nepali Congress. The Bill will be incorporated into the agenda of a Parliament meeting, along with the Constitution Amendment Bill, on Thursday.
The endorsement of the Bill had been delayed due to differences between the ruling CPN-UML and the NC over the appointment of authority’s chief executive officer (CEO). NC lawmaker Anjana Tamlee has registered disagreement over Clause 33 of the Bill which envisions for the appointment of a new CEO.
The NC had been demanding that Govind Raj Pokhrel, who was appointed by the then Sushil Koirala-led government, be allowed to continue as CEO of the authority set up through ordinance. But the body was later dissolved after Parliament failed to endorse the replacement bill. As per the existing legal provisions, ordinances need to be endorsed by Parliament within 60 days of the commencement of the parliamentary session. “We have accomplished our task. Now the full House will decide its fate,” said Ganga Chaudhary Satgaunwa, the committee chairperson.
The committee incorporated the note of dissent at the request of NC lawmaker Nabindra Raj Joshi.
Considering the differences between the two major parties, the committee had planned to put it to vote.
All the lawmakers, however, agreed to move ahead with the NC’s differences.
Generally note of dissent is not incorporated while tabling any bill in Parliament.
The establishment of the reconstruction authority will begin once Parliament approves the Bill, enabling it to carry out reconstruction works of the quake-ravaged structures.
Nearly 9,000 people were killed and 20,000 were injured in the devastating April 25 earthquake which also destroyed tens of thousands of houses. More than 8,000 people are still living in temporary shelters.
Both the ruling and opposition parties are vying for the hotseat at the authority, for which Rs 91 billion has been pledged by the government and Rs 400 billion from the donor community for this fiscal year.
The appointment of new CEO will be made after holding discussions with the ruling and opposition parties.
The Legislation Committee has proposed a three-tier structure under the reconstruction body—directive committee, advisory council and executive committee.
The CEO leads the executive committee, while the prime minister chairs the directive committee and the advisory council.
All in a day’s work
- Approved with note of dissent from NC
- Three-tier mechanism
- PM to lead Advisory and Directive Committees, leader of main opposition or a person recommended by him to be VC of the committees
- An engineer or one who has a master’s degree in social science, economics or archaeology with 15 years of experience will be eligible for CEO