The following article was originally published on May 14, 2015 in The Himalayan Times. Please click here to be directed to the original post.
Plan to give at least one tent to each member of Parliament was scuttled today following criticism from the lawmakers themselves and the media.
MPs were receiving tents by signing a record book in the Constituent Assembly building before today’s parliament meeting. The tents that were collected for earthquake victims were sent there in a truck by the Ministry of Urban Development after many lawmakers demanded at least one tent, according to a ministry source.
However, the tent distribution was halted after some media published or broadcast critical stories and some of the lawmakers voiced their opposition to the distribution to Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang. Some UML leaders, including Bhim Rawal and Rabindra Adhikari, urged Nembang to stop the distribution of tents among MPs. Nembang then instructed the Parliament Secretariat to stop the distribution.
“After some MPs criticised the distribution of tents collected for earthquake victims among the lawmakers and Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang instructed the Parliament Secretariat to stop the distribution, the distribution of the tents has been stopped. Those who already received the tents have been asked to return them,” said Spokesperson for Legislature Parliament Mukunda Sharma.
Following the criticism and Nembang’s instruction, some of the MPs who had received the tents were seen returning them although many had already left the building with the tents. Nembang said the distribution was done without informing him.
Nembang said at the beginning of today’s Parliament meeting that he had urged those who had received the tents to return them or send the tents to Dolakha victims. Nembang also urged the government to distribute the tents among the real victims.
Unified CPN-Maoist Chief Whip Girirajmani Pokharel said, “Eight MPs of our party had received eight tents and the party has instructed them to send them to Dolakha victims.” Although there is a demand for at least five lakh tents and tarpaulin sheets for quake victims, the government has so far distributed three lakh tents, according to Spokesperson for Ministry of Urban Development Padma Kumar Mainali.
“The ministry had decided to give tents to the MPs not for their use but to provide the same to the needy people,” Mainali said.