HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Secretariat under the Special Committee (for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist fighters) and the Selection Board, formed to screen combatants for their integration into the Nepali Army, today dispatched separate teams to cantonments to resume the halted selection process.
Six Secretariat teams left Kathmandu today while one more will be sent tomorrow, said Secretariat Coordinator Balananda Sharma.
Similarly, separate teams of the Nepali Army on behalf of the Selection Board, formed under Acting Chief of Public Service Commission Kayo Devi Yami, also set off for cantonments today, according to NA Spokesman Brig Gen Ramindra Chhetri.
There are 3,123 Maoist fighters in seven cantonments across the country waiting for their integration into the national army. Though the selection process had begun in early July, it had to be immediately halted after disputes surfaced over their age and academic qualification.
A meeting of the Special Committee on August 28 had decided to resume the selection process from September 6 after resolving the dispute.
“We hope to resume the selection process by tomorrow afternoon,” Sharma told THT. “In case they (the teams) reach their destinations late, it will begin from Friday.”
Brig Gen Chhetri also expressed hope that the selection process would move ahead smoothly.
It is expected that the selection/integration process would be completed soon with NA, the Selection Board and the SC Secretariat jointly executing the task this time around.
Sharma said the stakeholders were aiming at concluding the integration process within a month. “Within one week we will have the full data of fighters eligible for the integration,” said Sharma. “Thereafter we will begin distributing retirement and rehabilitation packages to those deemed unfit for joining the army.”
UCPN-M proposes 120 for officers
KATHMANDU: The Unified CPN-Maoist has forwarded a list of names of 120 former PLA commanders for their integration into the Nepali Army as officer cadets. Though the party had earlier forwarded 260 commanders’ names, a source told THT that the figure was revised after number of fighters wishing to join the national force came down to around 3,000. Balananda Sharma, Coordinator of the Secretariat under the Special Committee (for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist fighters), confirmed receiving the list of names from Maoist commanders and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. In general, NA has 34 officer cadets for a team of 850 recruits.