Chief District Officers (CDO) in Province 1 did not implement the holiday given by the provincial government for Thursday to mark the International Day of the World Indigenous Peoples.
The CDOs in all 14 districts in the province have opened their office claiming they are under the federal government which did not approve the holiday. They claimed their hands were tied and added they have not violated the provincial government’s decision.
Internal Affairs Minister in the province Hikmat Karki, however, slammed the CDOs for violating the provincial government’s decision. “The holiday given by a constitutionally and legally recognized provincial government has been violated. It is objectionable to say they will only comply with federal decisions while working in the province,” he argued.
He had requested the CDOs to implement the decision. He claimed that the CDOs’ decision has infringed on the constitutional rights of the provincial government. “What can one do when the CDOs who do administrative works don’t implement the decision of provincial government? It has become a sensitive issue,” he added.
CDOs, on the other hand, defended their decision and claimed they did not receive any instruction from the center till Wednesday night and opened the office after Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai directed to do so Thursday morning.
“We are under the federal government. We did not take holiday as it did not direct us,” CDO of Morang Ramesh KC told Setopati speaking on behalf of CDOs of the 14 districts. “You think we didn’t want to take holiday?”
He claimed that the CDOs would have to furnish explanation to the federal government had they implemented the provincial government’s decision, and now have aggrieved the provincial government for following the federal government’s instructions. He revealed that Home Secretary Rai was informed about the provincial government’s decision.
District Treasury Controller Offices and courts in the 14 districts also remained open on Thursday. Other offices under the provincial government, however, were closed.
The provincial government on Wednesday had issue circular to the district administration offices about the holiday citing the decision taken on April 12. The decision included holidays for Rishi Tarpani/Janai Purnima on August 26, Krishna Janmashtami (in Morang and Sunsari districts only) on September 3, and Chhath on November 13.
The provincial government had decided to grant holidays on some festivals to appease the people after the federal government cut holidays. “Let us not send a message that we defied the holiday given only for the International Day of the World Indigenous Peoples. We will seek permission from the federal government also for the other holidays granted by the provincial government,” CDO KC stated.
Rai and Limbu communities are dominant in the hill districts of Province 1 while there is significant presence of Kirat communities even in the plain districts there.