Kathmandu: Nepal government has decided to increase by Rs 1,500 the monthly salary of former Maoist combatants residing inside cantonments in the different parts of the country.

A Cabinet meeting on Sunday decided to hike the wages of combatants from NRs 5,000 to NRs 6,500 per month with effective from July 17, 2010, said Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

There are over 19,000 Peoples Liberation Army personnel living in seven cantonments and 21 other sub-cantonments.

The move will give the government led by Maoists' Deputy Chief Baburam Bhattarai an additional annual financial burden of NRs 1.52 billion or USD 21.11 million.

These Maoist combatants will be either integrated into security forces or rehabilitated to the society as per the agreed modalities.