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Nepal government decides to cut palace staff

world Updated: Mar 15, 2007 19:06 IST

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In a new move to curtail the powers of Nepal's King Gyanendra, the government on Thursday decided to cut down the royal staff to a quarter of its current size and reduce the number of securitymen deployed at the palace.

Fifty per cent of the staff will be dismissed while the half of those remaining would retire under a voluntary scheme, Information Minister Dilendra Badu said here.

The decision to bring the royal palace staff under the Public Commission's jurisdiction was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

Badu, however did not give details about the total strength of Gyanendra's staff or the voluntary retirement scheme.

A cabinet minister estimated the number of the staff working at the royal palace secretariat was around 750.

The cabinet also decided to retire about 50 palace staff, who have reached the retirement age of 60, he said. Half of the remaining staff will be transferred to other posts bringing them under the local administration, the minister said.

The decision on how many security personnel will go is yet to be taken, Badu said. The government's power to reduce the size of security personnel emanates from a new law that has brought the palace security under the government's authority.

The King was stripped off all his authority and powers following a people's uprising in April 2005.