Monday, February 13, 2012

Special Committee to close 14 PLA camps

Special Committee to close 14 PLA camps

  • Remaining combatants to be relocated to 7 main, satellite cantonments
The satellite camp in Ramnagar, Nawalparasi, that will be shut down.
The satellite camp in Ramnagar, Nawalparasi, that will be shut down.
Photo by: Bechu Gaud
With almost 40 percent of the verified 17,170 combatants returning home with the cash package they received from the government, the Special Committee on Sunday decided to shut down 14 PLA cantonment sites that were set up after the peace process began in 2006.
The discharge process of over 7,000 Maoist combatants opting for voluntary retirement ended on Saturday. The 9,705 fighters opting for integration in the Nepal Army will now be relocated in the seven main and seven satellite cantonments, a meeting of the committee decided.

The closure of the cantonments marks progress in the peace process, said Finance Minister and Special Committee member Barsha Man Pun. “The Nepal Army has also stepped up preparations to execute the Army integration process after an official letter was dispatched from the prime minister’s office last week,” he said. The prime minister-led Special Committee has also decided to provide an chance to over 9,000 combatants opting for integration to switch over to voluntary retirement.

Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said the Special Committee will issue an appeal to the combatants to switch their interest once the process of integration is agreed to at the political level.

Parties are expecting a detailed action plan from the Army regarding the integration process. If all goes as planned, the process of referring the combatants to the Army will start within March 13, according to an NC negotiator. The meeting also formed a five-member taskforce led by Secretariat member Ramananda Mishra to make recommendations on the satellite cantonments that are to be shut down. The taskforce will also collect details of the infrastructure in the sites and make recommendations of its use.

“We have agreed to deploy either the Nepal Army or the Armed Police Force to provide security to the cantonments that will be vacated,” Mahat said. Each of the seven divisions of the PLA has a hospital with basic medical facilities, playing grounds, drinking water facility, road and electric facilities. The other notable structures include the swimming pool at the third division headquarters in Shaktikhor and a ‘martyrs’ gate’ constructed by the first division headquarters in Ilam.

Special Committee Secretariat Coordinator Balananda Sharma briefed the Sunday meeting on the progress in the voluntary retirement process.

Division     No of combatants     Cantonments to remain    Camps to be closed

1st, Ilam        796    Chulachuli & Tandi    Yangshila & Danabari

2nd, Sindhuli      805    Dudhauli & Khayarmara    Belshot & Ranibaas

3rd, Chitwan     2,214    Shaktikhor & Gairabari    Bhutaha & Rasauli

4th, Nawalparasi    1,282    Jhyaltungdada & Hatikhor     Sainamaina & Ramnagar

5th, Rolpa    1,287    Bijauri & Dahaban    Masina & Gairigau

6th, Surkhet     1,559    Dasrathpur & Lekparsa    Gumi & Kholtepani

7th, Kailali    1,762    Talband & Badhaipur    Gorangee & Sahajpur

Total    9,705    14             14
(Draft proposal prepared by the Special Committee Secretariat on December 21, 2011)
from Kathmandu Post

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