Proposal to Send 6000 PLA Fighters into Forest Security Force
Posted by Ka Frank on March 4, 2010
This article appeared on My Republica on March 3, 2010.
6,000 PLA fighters for forest security force
KATHMANDU: The cabinet has agreed in principle to form a new national security force comprising posts specially for Maoist combatants who do not want to go into politics or choose rehabilitation. The new National Forest Conservation Corps (NFCC) would accommodate a few thousand of the 19,602 verified People´s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants.
Although such a force would be under the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), it will be coordinated by the Nepal Army´s Directorate of Conservation of National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.
The cabinet meeting last Thursday took up a proposal to this effect and forwarded it to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of General Administrations (MoGA) for their approval. “We have proposed to accommodate 6,000 verified Maoist combatants in the NFCC which will be mobilized for wildlife protection and conservation,” Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Deepak Bohara told myrepublica.com.
According to the MoFSC proposal, such a separate conservation corps would comprise 6,000 conservation guards who will then be mobilized in all protection areas, including national parks, conservation areas, the Churiya region and wildlife reserves. “The proposal has been accepted in principle by the cabinet and the final number in the NFCC will be determined once all the necessary procedures are complete and approval from other ministries obtained,” Minister Bohara further said. It has also been learnt that MoFSC held discussions over the proposal with high-ranking officials of the Nepal Army, which has a large number of its soldiers at the national parks and other conservation areas.
As per the plan of action on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants floated by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at the Special Committee on Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation, the government can create new security forces to accommodate the PLA combatants.
However, the UCPN (Maoist) has denied any knowledge of the NFCC proposal. Speaking to myrepublica.com, senior Maoist leader and member of the Special Committee, Janardan Sharma said, “The proposal has neither been discussed in the Special Committee nor has our party been consulted.”
Under the scheme, MoFSC has worked out an approximately Rs 700 million annual package for the combatants. But the state will have to spend almost Rs 1 billion initially. As per the plan, out of the Rs 1 billion, Rs 600 million will be spent on salary and perks, Rs 100 million on necessary infrastructure and some Rs 300 million for training purposes. The Ministry informed that the Rs 300 million required under the training head would be only a one-time expenditure.
The Finance Ministry, on the other hand, has said that at least Rs 200,000 would be spent per combatant annually for establishing the NFCC. Ministry officials also informed that the letter sent to the ministry does not specifically state that it is for PLA combatants. It simply says the Forest Ministry will mobilize 6,000 security personnel in various protected areas.
The combatants will be hired as other ordinary civil servants, and MoGA would have to create posts equivalent to the numbers proposed.