Special committee recommends Province 5 to be named ‘Lumbini’Committee members divided on provincial capital; recommend Butwal, Chandrauta and Lamahi as options.
A special advisory committee formed by the Province 5 Assembly to recommend the name and capital of the province has proposed ‘Lumbini’ as the province name. The committee, however, has been unable to recommend a unanimous name for the provincial capital.
The 15-member committee headed by Dipendra Kumar Pun Magar submitted its report at the secretariat of the provincial assembly on Monday. The report is yet to be made public.
A source at the committee said that the special committee, formed around 16 months ago, recommended three cities—Butwal in Rupandehi district, Chandrauta in Kapilvastu district and Lamahi in Dang district—as the possible capital of Province 5.
“We have submitted the report following due analysis based on the suggestions collected from the public and stakeholders in all 12 districts of the province. Details about the report will be made public once it is tabled in the provincial assembly meeting,” said Pun Magar.
The Province 5 Assembly formed the committee in July 2018 to study about the possible name/s for the province and its headquarters. The committee carried out the study by forming three technical sub-committees of security experts, environmentalists and geographers. The committee had also collected feedback and suggestions from the common people, professional organisations and several social organisations.
According to a member of the special committee, all the members agreed to name the province ‘Lumbini’ unanimously, but they were divided over the issue of naming the capital. “The committee members from the western part of the province were in favour of Lamahi as the capital, whereas members from Kapilvastu and Arghakhanchi lobbied for Chandrauta,” he said. “Other members were in favour of Butwal, the temporary capital of the province, as the permanent capital. The committee has recommended three alternatives for the province as the members failed to reach a consensus.”
According to the constitutional provision, the Provincial Assembly can name and designate a province’s capital by a two-thirds majority. There are 87 members in the Province 5 Assembly in total. The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has 61 members, the Nepali Congress has 19, Sanghiya Samajbadi Party has five and Rastriya Janamorcha and Rastriya Janata Party have one each in the provincial legislative body.
The NCP has a two-thirds majority in the Province 5 Assembly; however, the party too is divided in regards to the capital.
The special advisory committee submitted its report over the possible name and capital of the province while the opposition parties have been criticising the provincial government accusing the latter of not resolving the long-standing issue of the name and capital of the province.
Nirmala Chhetri, the whip of the main opposition Nepali Congress, remarked that the report submission, albeit late, was a positive step. “Discussions will be held during the upcoming assembly meeting. Our party will continue its pressure to solve the issue of name and capital of the province,” said Chhetri. It is learnt that the provincial government is preparing to summon the assembly meeting by December end.
Only three of the seven federal units have been given names and a capital city so far. The provincial assemblies of Province 4, 6 and 7 have named their provinces as Gandaki, Karnali and Sudurpaschim respectively.