Kathmandu, April 26
The main ruling UCPN-Maoist Thursday presented a proposal for federating the country into 10 provinces at the meeting of the major three parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), which so infuriated the opposition parties like Nepali Congress and CPN-UML that the major-party meeting had not been scheduled to discuss the proposal.
According to the proposal, the names of the ten states are Limbuwan-Mechi, Kirant-Koshi, Tamsaling-Indrawati, Newa-Bagmati, Tamuwan-Gandaki, Magarat-Dhaulagiri, Karnali, Seti-Mahakali, Tharuwan-Lumbini and Madhes-Birat.
In the proposal the Maoist party has proposed even the area of the suggested federal constituents. Accordingly, hilly belt of Morang district, the whole of Dhankuta and Tehrathum districts and some part of Sankhuwasabha district falls under Limbuwan-Mechi state. The area from east of Likhu river to Arun falls under Kirant-Koshi while the area between Ramechhap district and Budhi Gandaki River lies in the Tamsaling-Indrawati state.
Likewise, Newa-Bagmati state is supposed to cover the area of the Kathmandu valley, and the adjoining Banepa and Dhulikhel towns. The area stretching from Gorkha district to the Kali Gandaki River, leaving the southern part of Tanahun district, falls under the proposed Tamuwan-Gandaki province. The Magarat-Dhaulagiri state will cover the area from southern part of Syangja district to western part of Rukum district.
Similarly, the whole of Bheri zone has been included in the proposed Karnali province. The Seti-Mahakali state covers area from northern part of Kailali to Kanchanpur districts. The area of the plains stretching from Kanchanpur district to Nawalparasi district is named as Tharuwan-Lumbini state. And the Madhes-Birat state is supposed to cover from Morang district (leaving the northern part) to eastern part of Chitwan.
The Maoists have proposed that Chitwan should be an autonomous region governed by the centre.
"The new proposal is based on discussions over the issue in the CA and recommendations of reports presented by different committees. We hope this proposal will address the voices of different communities," Maoist secretary and Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati reasoned for presenting the new proposal after the meeting at CA building in New Baneshwor.
"The Maoists’ proposal has emphasized on only one, identity, of two bases, identity and capacity, of federalism. This makes a mockery of federalism," NC leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat reacted over the proposal.
Dr Mahat blamed the Maoists for backtracking from previously made tentative agreement on number and names of federations. "Although the proposal is supposed to be based on identity, it has focused on ethnicity missing out other components of identity such as geographic continuity and historicity."
UML leader Surendra Pandey, who read out the proposal for the reporters, said that his party would remark on the proposal after discussing it in the party’s central committee meeting scheduled for Friday.
However, another UML leader Pradip Gyawali observed that the proposal had ignored both identity and capacity as bases of federalism.
Earlier, the parties were saying that they would agree on 8/9 provinces. The NC was for forming 6 provinces while the UML was standing for 7 states whereas the Maoists had been advocating for fourteen states as suggested by the CA thematic Committee on State Restructuring.