KATHMANDU, July 3: With the integration process beginning from Wednesday, former Maoist combatants have started gathering in the main cantonments to take part in the selection process to be carried out by the Nepal Army (NA).
NA is selecting combatants aspiring for other ranks from the main seven cantonments and officers from the Bharatpur Barracks.
“Even those who were not in the cantonments have to return to their respective cantonments for integration," said former fourth division vice commander Bashu Dev Ghimire about the preparations for integration.
Similarly, first division commander Yam Bahadur Adhikari told Republica that the former combatants opting for integration have started returning to the main cantonments.
NA Spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri told Republica that the army has formed selection teams and would be on the field from Wednesday. "The members of the recruitment board are reaching the cantonments tomorrow [Wednesday]," he said.
There are altogether 3,123 former Maoist combatants waiting for integration into the national army. The army will create a separate directorate to accommodate the former Maoist combatants. While 35 percent of the directorate members will be ex-Maoist combatants, 63 percent of the members will be from the national army.
The government is yet to decide the structure of the directorate. The army has decided to start integration after it was told that the government would determine the structure of the directorate as the integration progresses.
NA seeks Rs 24b for next fiscal year
The Ministry of Defense on Tuesday sought 24 billion rupees for the Nepal Army for the next fiscal year, some two billion more than the budget ceiling set by the finance ministry. The budget sought by the defense ministry does not include the budget for the proposed NA directorate.
The ministry made the request during a meeting held at the prime minister´s office on Tuesday. Army Chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung was also present at the meeting.