Protests Continue In Birjung,Dhankuta, Dang and Dipayal Over Provincial Capitals

Protests Continue In Birjung,Dhankuta, Dang and Dipayal Over Provincial Capitals

Jan. 18, 2018, 8:01 a.m.

The protests in various districts demanding the locating of provincial capitals in their own areas continued as well. The protests affected Dhankuta, Doti and Dang among other districts.

About 100 protesters led by provincial parliamentarians Niran Rai and Indra Mani Parajuli padlocked the regional administration office in Dhankuta on Wednesday, demanding that the district be declared the capital of Province 1.

Police personnel attempted to stop the protesters from entering the office premises resulting in a confrontation at the gates. However, the protesters overcame the security personnel and broke the first gate and entered the office premises.

At least one protester sustained injury in the confrontation. Joshish Shrestha of Dhankuta Municipality-6 sustained injury in the head and is currently undergoing treatment at Dhankuta District Hospital.

The demonstrators organized sit-in protests in front of the administration office. They chanted slogans against the Regional Administration Chief Rajeshwar Man Singh accusing him of submitting a report to the government saying Dhankuta does not have good infrastructure. Singh, according to the demonstrators, had allegedly submitted the report without discussing the issue with the political parties in the district. Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel in large numbers have been deployed in and around the office.

Expressing their support for the demonstrations, the residents in the district shut down schools, offices and marketplaces.

Likewise, vehicular movement in Dhankuta Bazaar is sparse while the same along the Koshi Highway remains halted. Protestors vandalized a motorcycle headed for Dharan from Sankhuwasabha on Wednesday, according to Police Chief Surendra Khadka.

The residents have been holding strikes for the past 34 days. Sunder Babu Shrestha, coordinator of the struggle committee said they would continue with the strike until their demands are met.

In Doti district, protests erupted since Wednesday morning again following reports that the cabinet on Monday night decided to declare Dhangadhi as the capital of Province 7. The protesters demanding that Doti's headquarters Dipayal be named as provincial capital have been staging demonstrations for the past 21 days.

Local politicians, local representatives and civil society leaders, who have formed a struggle committee, held its meeting after the cabinet decision and decided to resume their protests from Wednesday. Prior to this, they had organized strike from January 3 to 8. The transport service, markets, schools and offices in Dipayal remain shut since Wednesday morning.

"When our constituency is facing injustice, we won't stay mute," said Lokendra Shahi of Nepali Congress, the chairman of KI Singh Rural Municipality.

Likewise, CPN-UML Chairman of Doti district Chakra Malla said they will continue protests until Dipayal is declared the provincial capital.

Likewise, demanding Dang be declared the capital of Province 5, the locals have announced an 'indefinite' strike from Wednesday. Since early morning, schools, markets, factories and transport services remain shut.

At Deukhuri of the district, protesters have shut down market and barred vehicles from operating on the East-West Highway. This has affected thousands of passengers. Likewise, Ghorahi, the district headquarters has also been affected. Locals in Tulsipur in the district have also launched protest. The protest has affected vehicular movement to and from adjoining Rukum and Salyan districts. 

Government Finalizes Provinces’ Governors And Temporary Headquarters

The Cabinet meeting held today has finalised the appointment of the governors and fixed the temporary headquarters of the provinces.

The meeting at Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar fixed Biratnagar as the capital of Province 1, Janakpur as the capital of Province 2, Hetauda as the capital of Province 3 and Pokhara as the capital of Province 4.

Similarly the meeting declared Rupandehi, Surkhet, and Dhangadhi as the capitals of Provinces 5, 6 and 7 respectively.

Likewise, the same meeting appointed Govinda Subba as the Governor of Province 1, Ratneshwor Lal Kayasta as the Governor of Province 2, and Anuradha Koirala as the Governor of Province 3.

Similarly, the Cabinet meeting named Baburam Kunwar as the Governor of Province 4, Umakanta Jha as the Governor of Province 5, Durga Khanal as the Governor of Province 6, and Mohan Raj Malla as the Governor of Province 7. According to Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa, the government has fixed the temporary capitals and recommended the  names of the governors as per its constitutional duty.

“The cabinet meeting has fixed the temporary workstations for the operations of the provincial governments in line with  Article 288 (3) of the constitution,”  Thapa said.

 The constitution has given the government the powers to fix the temporary capitals of the provinces. These can be changed by a two-thirds majority of the respective provincial assemblies.

The government has located the capitals of all the provinces in the southern part of the country, except for the capital of Province -4. While Biratnagar has been chosen as the temporary capital for Province-1 and Janakpur  for Province-2. Similarly, Hetauda, Pokhara, Rupandehi, Surket and Dhangadhi have been named as temporary capitals of Provinces 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 respectively.

The government's decision comes against the backdrop of protests launched by locals in various cities including  Dipayal, Dang, Dhankuta and Birgunj, demanding that their cities be declared the provincial capitals.

The cabinet meeting on Wednesday also appointed provincial governors on the basis of a power-sharing deal among the ruling parties.  The meeting recommended Prof Govinda Subba as governor of Province-1, Ratneshwar Lal Kayastha as governor of Province-2, Anuradha Koirala of 3, Baburam Kunwar of 4, Umakanta Jha of 5, Durga Khanal of 6 and Mohan Raj Malla of Province-7.

The president appoints the governors upon the recommendation of the government, as per Article 163 (2) of the constitution.

Accoridng to a Report in My Republica, of those recommended as governors, Subba, a professor of English at Tribhuvan University, had  joined the Nepali Congress some decades ago although he had started  in politics from the leftist parties. Similarly, Kayastha is a former secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and former member of the National Planning Commission, while Koirala is a former assistant minister and the founder of Maiti Nepal.

Kunwar served as attorney general during the Sushil Koirala government and Jha was a minister during the Khil Raj Regmi government. Khanal was a member of the National Assembly from the Nepali Congress.

Malla, who has been recommended as governor of Province 7, was a member of the then National Panchayat. He started his political career from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and later joined the Nepali Congress.

Based on Media Report



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