Congress leader or NRA CEO? Govinda Pokharel into politics, quake victims paying the price?

Kathmandu, March 2

The main opposition CPN-UML has levelled serious allegations against Govinda Raj Pokharel, CEO of National Reconstruction Authority, a body tasked with reconstruction of quake-ravaged infrastructure and distribution of aid to quake victims.

It has accused Pokharel of utilising NRA’s means and resources for expansion of the Congress’ organisational base.

It should be noted that Pokharel, a Nepali Congress favourite, who replaced UML pick Sushil Gewali as NRA CEO, had attended NC programmes in his home district of Pyuthan.

In a press release, Tulsi Ram Sharma, chair of UML (Pyuthan), accused Pokharel, also an NC general convention member, of delivering speeches against the UML and lawmakers from the district while participating in different Congress gatherings in the district. If Pokharel does not stop such acts, we will resist such activities, Sharma threatened. It should be noted that both lawamkers representing the district — Bamdev Gautam and Hira Bahadur KC — are from the UML.

About three weeks ago, together with NC central member Shekhar Koirala, Pokharel had addressed a Congress-organised gathering in Bangesal. He had pledged to work for the welfare of quake victims and for the benefit of the Congress. The UML had objected to this statement. Pokharel had also attended a programme organised in Pythuan to welcome cadres from other parties into the NC fold.

But his press coordinator Dinesh Pandey claimed that Pokharel had visited Pyuthan to hold discussions with locals about programmes sanctioned for Pyuthan while he was vice-chair of the National Planning Commission.

At the next meeting of the Parliament’s Directive Committee, the UML is planning to seek clarifications from Pokharel about his activities. UML Vice-chair Bhim Rawal is a member of the committee that is under Prime Minister Prachanda.

After Pokharel’s appointment as NRA CEO, distribution of the first installment of quake grants has come to a halt, Rawal said, adding: The process for distribution of the second installment of quake grant has not even begun.

At the same time, Rawal described CEO Pokharel’s activities as objectionable. It is unbecoming of NRA CEO to deliver speeches against a party, Rawal said, adding that he will raise this issue at the committee meeting.

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