Nepal: Hunger strike against govt ordinance



Kathmandu: A group of civil society members in Nepal has begun a hunger strike to protest against the government's decision to provide hi-tech state facilities to the VIPs including former prime ministers, speakers, chief justices and other officials.

The group led by former secretary Khem Raj Regmi consisting of retired bureaucrats launched the protest yesterday, saying the hi-tech facilities will be a burden to the state coffers, while its direct impact will be felt on commoners.

On July 17, the Nepalese Council of Ministers had approved an ordinance with new criteria for the distribution of state facilities to the VIPs including former president and vice president. They will be entitled to the perks for life.

Transparency International Nepal (TI-N), Federation of Nepali Journalists, Nepal Bar Association, Nepal Medical Association and some other organisations have expressed their solidarity with the protest.

The TI-N has written a letter to the government asking for withdrawal of the decision.

As pressure from civil society members mounted, some leaders started returning to the government state-owned vehicles being used by them.

Former prime minister and senior leader of CPN-UML, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Nepali Congress vice president Ram Chandra Poudel yesterday returned their vehicles to offices concerned.

UCPN (Maoist) chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), has already returned state-owned vehicles to the government.

PTI