Federalism must be shaped with 'humanist sensitivity' and 'social-scientific thinking'
Federalism and a restructuring of the state of the kind that promotes goodwill between Nepal’s communities will be viable, prominent personalities, experts and sociologists have said in a ‘civic appeal’ on Sunday.
“A federalism that is defined on the basis of the demographic diversity of our country, its history of settlement, and its unique geography will safeguard the identity of each community while simultaneously opening the door to economic prosperity in every part,” states the appeal signed by sociologist Dr. Ganesh Gurung, actor/pilot Vijay Lama, water resources expert Ratna Sansar Shrestha, including other prominent personalities.
They said provinces must be created in such a way that the optimum exploitation of natural resources including water resources becomes possible to benefit the people of the Himalayan highlands, the midhills, and the Tarai/Madhes plains, they said.
Saying that Nepal’s Constituent Assembly’s task of defining federalism has not yielded results after four years of trying, and in the last moments the debate has become unhealthy, they also expressed concern that the discussion’s direction has threatened the relationships and goodwill between Nepal’s communities.
“Provinces must be created in such a way that the optimum exploitation of natural resources including water resources becomes possible to benefit the people of the Himalayan highlands, the midhills, and the Tarai/Madhes plains,” they said in the appeal, adding that federalism must be shaped with humanist sensitivity and social-scientific thinking, in order to guarantee the identity and prosperity of every marginalized community.
“The division of provinces must not be allowed to benefit some communities while compromising the dignity and socio-economic circumstances of others.
In particular, when ten of Nepal’s 118 communities are seen to be privileged, there is imminent danger that the remaining communities – more than 100 in all – will feel deprived, and that communal harmony will be disturbed,” they further said in their civic appeal.
Claiming that federalism has not been adequately debated in the Constituent Assembly during its extended term and neither has there been open and extensive discussion among the general public on this crucial subject, they recommend that it is inappropriate to decide on the crucial and sensitive matters of the demarcation and naming of the federal provinces on this, the last day of the Constituent Assembly, 27 May 2012.
“It will be wise for the definition of federalism to be withheld, and carried forward through an appropriate and authoritative arrangement in the days ahead,” they added. Nepalnews.com