Rupandehi, July 5
UCPN-Maoist Politburo member and former PLA commander Chandra Prakash Khanal ‘Baldev’ Thursday hinted that that the number of combatants to be integrated into Nepal Army may go down unless there is a dignified integration.
Leader Khanal stressed that the combatants must be integrated with due respect as per the spirit of the 7-point pact reached among the political parties.
Addressing an orientation meeting organized by the Former PLA Association of Abadh-Madhesh chapter, former deputy commander and spokesperson of PLA Khanal said that the PLA combatants are still dissatisfied the educational qualifications, age bar and other standards fixed by NA.
"Because of the tough standard of recruitment, there is the possibility that many aspiring combatants may be disqualified. So, we have reserved the voluntary retirement option open for them," Khanal said.
He revealed that only 2,600 PLA combatants are opting for integration right now out of the total of 3,123 who had opted for integration earlier.
Replying a query of journalists, Khanal said that the questions prepared with ill intention by Nepal Army to be asked during the selection process will not be acceptable.
The process of uniting and organizing former PLA combatants is underway nationwide, Khanal said. He disclosed that 155-member central committee of ex-combatants has been formed headed by PLA commander Nanda Kishwor Pun.
"Till now, more than 13,000 PLA combatants have joined the organization. They will play an active role in economic revolution in the country," the former PLA commander said.
The ex-fighters will be mobilised for productive works, he said.
Meanwhile a report received from Kailali the process of integrating Maoist combatants into Nepal Army began at PLA Sixth Division at Talaband of Kailali district on Thursday.
A 10-member recruitment team led by Colonel Arjun Khadka of Teghari Barrack of Kailai has set up a selection centre at the division headquarters.
Khadka informed that the process of recruitment started on Thursday after the formation of the recruitment centre.
Currently, PLA combatants are living only in main cantonment at Talaband and two satellite camps at Badaipur and Gorge.
Nepal Army has informed that all the combatants have been called to the main division at Talaband for recruitment process as it is only the recruitment centre.
The recruitment team of Nepal Army has informed that the recruitment process would continue till third week of July.
Meanwhile, according to our Ilam correspondent, the stalled recruitment process of PLA First Division
in Chulachuli, Ilam, has resumed on Thursday.
The recruitment process was halted following a dispute over question sheet on Wednesday.
The process was halted after the combatants strongly protested and threatened not to participate in recruitment process citing tough standard of selection fixed by the army.
A recruitment team led by Colonel Sushil Karki resumed the recruitment process. A total of 275 combatants are taking part in the recruitment process in the First Division.
Likewise, according to our Chitawan correspondent, integrated process began at the PLA’s Third Division at Shaktikhor on Thursday.
A 22-member recruitment team has initiated the process by distributing application forms.