KATHMANDU, Feb 15: The federal affairs department of the CPN-UML has proposed an eight-province model and another 12-province model for state restructuring.
Chief of the department, Parshu Meghi Gurung, who also heads the study team, handed over the report and maps to the party chairman Jhalanath Khanal Tuesday. The party will table it for deliberations at its central committee meeting that is scheduled to start Wednesday.
The party took the initiatives to come up with an official model. The UML had earlier submitted 15-province model at the Constituent Assembly´s (CA) thematic committee on state restructuring but later lawmakers from the party stood divided when the committee conducted a vote on the major contentious points.
In its first model, the department has proposed three provinces in the Tarai-Madhes region and five more provinces integrating hills and Himalayan regions. In the second, there are four provinces in the Tarai-Madhes region and eight in the hills and Himalayan regions. The provinces have not been named yet.
The party has proposed a three-tier government -- local, provincial and federal or central. Both the models have delineated the country into 900 local governments, 150 municipal governments, 10 autonomous metropolitan cities and five autonomous regions.
The major areas for the proposed cities are -- Dhangadhi-Attaraiya-surrounding areas, Nepalgunj-Kohalpur, Butwal-Bhairahawa, Birgunj-Pathalaiya-Nijgadh, Janakpur-Dhalkhe-Jaleshwar, Biratnagar-Itahari-Dharan, Kathmandu valley, Kavre-Panauti-Banepa-Dhulikhel-Panchkhal, Chitwan-Bharatpur-Ratnagar-Gaidakot and Pokhara-Lekhnath-surrounding areas.
The proposed special autonomous regions are -- Sherpa-Sagarmatha, Chepang, Sunuwar, Danuwar and Western Himali.
The team has also studied the community-wise population clusters that will have dominant presence at the level of proposed local governments. As per the study, Chhettris will have dominant presence in 228 village governments, Brahmins in 94, Tharus in 77, Tamang in 70, Magar in 67, Dalit in 66, Rai in 50, Muslim in 45, Yadav in 44, Gurung in 35, Limbu in 35, Newar in 21, Sherpa in 6, Thakali in 4 and Thakuri in 4. Rajbanshi, Chepang and Koiri lead in 3 village levels each and Danuwar, Dhanuk and Sunuwar lead in 2 village levels each. Other communities such as Chhantyal, Kalwar, Gangai, Thami, Kurmi, Kewat and Bhote will have dominant presence in one village levels each.
The UML team has termed the concept of preferential political rights unacceptable. "Granting preferential political rights for a specific caste or linguistic community is not acceptable," said Gurung. A majority of the CA´s thematic committee had voted for the proposal to grant preferential political rights to a community having dominant presence in a particular province.
As per the provision, only someone from such a community will be eligible to become chief minister in the province for the first two terms. The CA thematic committee´s proposed provision was widely criticized in and outside the CA.
On the right to self-determination, the UML has proposed adopting it as a provision to promote self-governance in the fields such as economic, social, cultural and educational at the local levels. "In our context, we can´t accept the Lenin´s model of right to self-determination that also advocates the right to secession," he said.
According to Gurung, the model might be modified as per the feedbacks received during the deliberations at the party´s all-powerful body, central committee. He also informed that the party is likely to finalize one of the two models and present that as the party´s official proposal in the days to come or may come up with the two models to accommodate the views of all UML leaders representing various communities.
"We have handed over the report to the chairman and it has now become the party´s property so the party leadership will decide on the matter," he added.
The department earlier held discussions, workshops and interactions among the party representatives at regional and central levels while preparing the two models.
The third-largest party has come up with its official proposal on state restructuring at a time when its lawmakers remain deeply divided over federalism. UML lawmakers were divided not only at the CA thematic committee but at the full CA as well.