Flanked by the Revenue Secretary and the Adviser to his ministry, Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal Tuesday called the attention of the 10 coalition partners to this grim fact: the existing budget will only cover the expenses till mid-November. Khanal has urged caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and the coalition partners to bring the budget at the earliest. The civil servants deserve many thanks for their attempt to instill a sense of urgency to issue the budget for the ongoing fiscal year by October-end. But, that is only so much they can do. Sadly, their call, in all probability, is definitely not going to be heeded to in the nearest future given the protracted stalemate over the formation of the government since Nepal stepped down in June. Just as the worried bureaucrats laid before the political leaders the fiscal scenario, Prime Minister Nepal rose to the occasion and reiterated his demand-either the political parties elect a new prime minister or allow the incumbent caretaker dispensation to table the budget for the ongoing fiscal year.
Since Nepal’s resignation on June 30, the Legislature-Parliament has made as many as eight futile attempts to pick his successor. Although Nepali Congress’s Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Paudel is the lone horse in the prime ministerial race, as things stand, he won’t be able to win the backing of the other parties that he needs to become the prime minister. The CPN-UML and the constituents of the United Madhesi Democratic Front have effectively abstained from voting, thus blocking the prospect of the jumbo House to elect the prime minister. And, the Unified CPN-Maoist joined the bandwagon this week after its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal withdrew from the prime ministerial race on Sunday. Tuesday’s round table between the finance ministry officials and the coalition partners ended without any decision to end the stalemate, instead the political top guns were busy pointing fingers at each another. The political leadership across the board has not been able to give the country’s sorry state of affairs the attention that it demands. The political leaders seem to have their own take in maintaining the deadlock because, each one privately feels the table will turn some day and he sure stands to benefit from the protracted crisis. This is very unfortunate, to say the least.
Apart from indulging in the blame game all along, the political leaders have failed to rise above their petty personal interests, committing themselves to work for the greater good of the country and the common citizenry. This cannot go on for long. It is probably time also to ask what efforts Prime Minister Nepal himself has made within his own party to end the deadlock apart from quietly enjoying the flop parliamentary show to elect his successor. And, can the Speaker himself not be accountable to his contribution to the making of such an impasse? The general public would certainly care to know about their pro-active initiatives so far. May be it’s also time we asked the lawmakers whether they are or should be accountable to the taxpayers’ money that pay their salaries and allowances.
The dengue scare for real is on in Chitwan district, while swine flu is also baring its fangs despite all the hyped level of preparation. This has but questioned the whole quick response mechanism which had been touted as being able to bring under control any surge in communicable diseases. It is unfortunate that all that talk of making accessible the health delivery system to the people even in the remote regions of Nepal has proved to be more of a fairy tale than anything that has to do with the real life encounters. It needs no reiteration that the preventable diseases are taking a greater toll of life nowadays despite the cheap and convenient methods of prevention.
Dengue, malaria, filaria and encephalitis are all spread by mosquitoes. The scourge of malaria in the southern districts of Nepal is quite well-known, but dengue has now emerged as another threat.The use of chemicals to kill mosquitoes has not succeeded as the insects have become drug resistant. Therefore, the use of mosquito nets, filling the puddles and water holes around the house and within villages and the like can be useful preventive measures.