Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Cabinet decisions

As a way to curb the Maoist insurgency, the government has prepared ordinances in preparation of the Local Administration (fourth amendment) Act and the Armed Police Force Act. The administration act reached the cabinet on 19 October after getting the necessary approval from the Ministry of Law. It envisages the appointment of a regional administrator and co-ordinates the work of the army and the police. The draft ordinance on the Armed Police Force is expected to reach the cabinet this week.

According to a source in the cabinet secretariat the local administration act will make the presence of the local commander of the army unit a member of the district security committee. The presence of an army representative is not mandatory at the moment. The draft proposes having regional administration offices in all five development regions and the government will appoint a first class officer as the regional administrator. According to Clause 4 (c), the regional administrator would have authority to maintain law and order, order others to maintain peace and oversee the work of the district administration offices. He or she will also head the regional security committee, which will have representation of the regional heads of the army, the police and the national investigation department (intelligence office).

The ordinance amends a 1969 law to make the representation of the army in the security committee compulsory. A cabinet secretariat source said because there was no coordinating agency, the army was forced to stand by and watch the Maoist attack on Dunai, the headquarters of Dolpo district.

A cabinet source says the government will forward the armed police ordinance for His Majesty's approval next week. The armed police force is to be under the Home Ministry and will live in barracks. The ordinance proposes to use the paramilitary force to curb armed insurgencies and other conflicts that could take place in different parts of the country.

The force is also to be used in border security and for relief operations during natural calamities. The ordinance says the size of the force would be decided by the government and another clause would also allow the government to transfer personnel from the police to the force which will be under the command of an inspector general.

The Nepal Police presently has a 7,000-strong armed wing. A government task force had recommended that a paramilitary force be created for fighting the Maoist rebels. Even though the task force had recommended a force with 15,156 personnel, Home Ministry sources said that the number had not been mentioned because the government wanted to create the force immediately using personnel from the police.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)