Friday, 5 March, 2021

Amid poll preparations, police integration process stalls


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Jan. 20: A much-awaited police integration process into Province Police Offices has halted indefinitely after the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the announcement of elections in the country.
The government has already announced mid-term elections for April 30 and May 10, 2021.
A committee under the coordination of Joint Secretary Thaneshwor Gautam of the Ministry of Home Affairs had been formed to make internal preparations and take the integration process ahead.
The Police Headquarters had also put forward criteria, procedures and internal preparations through the Directorate of Investigation, Planning and Development for the adjustment, but the task has come to a grinding halt after the Home Ministry and Nepal Police have to focus on election security and strategy.
As a result, all security agencies -- including the Police Headquarters, the Home Ministry and Defence Ministry -- are now shifting their attention to election.
The Ministry of Home Affairs used to hold regular internal meeting and do necessary homework for the integration process before December 20, 2020, but that has changed abruptly.
Joint Secretary Chakra Bahadur Budha at the Home Ministry said that the integration process had been affected as they had to be involved in election security and preparations.
“The government’s priority now is election security and preparation. We are focused on that,” Budha told The Rising Nepal.
Preparations for the integration of Nepal Police into the Province Police Offices started after President Bidya Devi Bhandari ratified the Police Integration Act on February 11, 2020, when it was passed by both the Houses of the Federal Parliament, the HoR and the National Assembly.
The Council of Ministers had passed the survey report on the Organization and Management (O&M) of the Nepal Police and the Province Police, maintaining the total number of police vacancy at 79,532 -- 24,812 in the Nepal Police (in the Valley) and 54,720 in the Province Police Offices.
The Police Headquarters had also set up various internal mechanisms to finalise the adjustment criteria, procedures, software development for its application registration, structural and resource management framework, shifting them from the centre to the district levels.
As per the survey report, the peace and security management rights and command control of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts have been brought under the command of Valley Police Office changing it from the authority of Bagmati Province government. This was done by issuing a separate ordinance by the President a few months ago, according to the Home Ministry.
With the dissolution of the HoR, the future of the ordinance brought for adjustment has become uncertain now. Article 114 of the constitution provides that ordinances issued by the President in the absence of a parliamentary session should be tabled after the opening of the House. If the ordinance is rejected by the House within two months of its opening, it will automatically be dissolved or inactive.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said that before the dissolution of the HoR, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Headquarters had prepared to open the adjustment application from the first week of January, 2021.
SSP Kunwar said that the integration process had slowed down due to the occupation of police in election security strategy and preparations.
He said that the police was preparing for the election as per the government’s instructions. “The integration process is moving forward, but we have been busy since we were instructed to focus on preparations and security for the HoR elections to be held on April 30 and May 10, 2021,” said spokesperson Kunwar.


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