SLMM objects to amendmentThe agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) has protested the amendment to the constitution made by the major political parties to address the demands of the Madhesi community.
The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) has protested the amendment to the constitution made by the major political parties to address the demands of the Madhesi community.
The alliance of the Madhes-centric parties has said that it cannot accept the amendment that was carried out without its approval.
The SLMM supporters in Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and other Tarai districts said they are awaiting the instruction of the leaders before organising demonstrations to protest the amendment.
Mahendra Yadav, the SLMM district coordinator of Rupandehi, said the constitution was amended according to the interest of the major political parties.
“Our future protests will be determined after the meeting at the central level,” he said.
The Nepal-India border areas have been affected due to the ongoing Madhes protest. Vehicular movement along the Lumbini-Kapilvastu and the Bhairahawa-Parasi roads has been affected for the past several months. Factories inside the Lumbini Industrial Corridor and Postal Highway areas have also been hit.
Meanwhile, the SLMM has warned of stepping up the protest, which could make the situation worse.
Central Vice-chairman of Sadbhawana Party Om Prakash Yadav Guljari said they will not accept the amendment that was carried out without the agreement of Madhes-based parties.
“Our protests will grow stronger. It will continue,” he said.
Ajaya Gupta, a local SLMM leader from Bhairahawa, said their bottom line is immediate revision of state demarcation. “Without that we will not withdraw our protest. The central level will decide on the form of our future protest,” he said.
Many people in the Tarai districts have urged the agitating SLMM to lift the banda and withdraw the protest after the constitution amdendment.
Chairman of Sarlahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hari Shankar Prasad Sah said there is no point continuing the protest now.
“People have long faced hardship. The SLMM leaders should know that it takes time for revision of state demarcation. The amendment should be taken as a positive step,” he said.
Local govt bodies could not hold council meet
RAUTAHAT: Local government bodies in Rautahat could not hold their council meeting on time because of continuous protest and banda. They were supposed to conduct the biannual council meeting by mid-January.
Candrapur Municipality was one exception among three municipalities and 84 VDCs in the district that successfully held its council meeting. VDC secretaries said they were unable to organise the council meeting for the fear that the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) cadres would attack them.
Their inability to organise the council meeting means the concerned local government bodies will fail the Minimum Conditions Performance Measure (MCPM), a system of gauging the performance according to the set standards. Local Bodies Fiscal Commission could also block the grants to these local government bodies if they do not hold the council meeting that prepares policies for the upcoming years.
Chief and Executive Officer of Gaur Municipality Nagendra Yadav said, “We tried to conduct the council meeting several times, but could not due to threats by the agitating parties. They even padlocked the office when we tried to call a tender to purchase sanitation equipment.” Similar is the situation in Garuda Municipality. SLMM supporters have been staging demonstration there on a daily basis.
The SLMM has been protesting against the new constitution for more than five months now. Local SLMM leader Ajay Gupta said they will not let government bodies work until their demands are met.
“It does not matter if the municipalities and VDCs cannot hold their council meeting. The government should focus on resolving the dispute concerning the entire Tarai,” he said.
Last year, 40 VDCs along with Gaur Municipality had failed the MCPM test. Around Rs10 million grants for VDCs was cut as a result. Local Development Officer Mukti Bhattarai said that the situation is most likely to repeat this year.