It’s Koshi. Province 1 gets its name, finallyIt is the last of Nepal’s seven provinces to be named. The name Kirat-Limbuwan-Sagarmatha was rejected.
Deo Narayan Sah
Province 1 has officially adopted Koshi as its new name. A meeting of the provincial assembly on Wednesday approved the new name.
The name proposed by the CPN-UML was endorsed by an overwhelming majority. Besides the UML, assembly members from the Nepali Congress, the CPN (Maoist Centre), and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) voted in the proposal’s favour.
Article 295 (2) of the constitution states that the name of a province has to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the total members of the provincial assembly concerned.
Eighty-six members barring the Speaker participated in the voting in the 93-strong assembly, with 82 members endorsing the name and four members from the CPN (Unified Socialist) voting in opposition. Six members were absent.
In the 93-strong provincial assembly, the UML has 40 seats, the Nepali Congress 29, the CPN (Maoist Centre) 13, the RPP 6, the CPN (Unified Socialist) 4 and the Janata Samajbadi Party has one seat.
Earlier, the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Janata Samajbadi Party had registered a different proposal demanding that the province be named Kirat-Limbuwan-Sagarmatha based on the ethnic identity of the indigenous communities residing in the hill districts of the province. Speaker Baburam Gautam said the proposal was rejected by a huge majority of the assembly.
Of Nepal’s seven provinces, Koshi is the last province to get a name. The provincial assembly failed to name the province in the previous five-year term of the assembly as the parties were divided on the proposed names.
Six other provinces were previously named as Madhesh, Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini, Karnali and Sudurpaschim. Four provinces were named after the erstwhile zones —Bagmati, Gandaki, Lumbini and Karnali. The province in the far-west has retained the name of the erstwhile development region—Sudurpaschim, while Province 2 has been named as Madhesh, based on regional identity.
Biratnagar, the provincial headquarters, witnessed protests throughout the day. Various ethnic-based groups including Limbuwan, Kirant Joint Struggle Committee staged demonstrations at Devkota chowk demanding that the province’s new name reflect the region’s ethnic identities. They protested against the UML-proposed name Koshi.
Meanwhile, the District Administration Office in Morang enforced a prohibitory order in various parts of Biratnagar in the afternoon. Chief District Officer Tirtharaj Bhattarai issued a notice announcing the prohibition would take effect from 3pm onwards. “A prohibitory order has been enforced to avoid any untoward incident during demonstrations or protests as the provincial assembly decides on a new name for Province 1,” read the notice.