March 18, 2017 08:36 AM NPT
Residents of Agiya VDC put up a signboard declaring Agiya as the location of their new local unit’s center in this recent picture.
NEPALGUNJ, March 18: With the country gearing for local level restructuring, dispute over the location of the new local unit’s center has flared up. Though recommendation for the names of the local levels and their centers were ‘unanimously’ sent, the center has made changes in some cases. Row over the choices for the new center’s location in has come to the fore Banke, Bajura, Rukum and Jajarkot. Enraged locals have demanded that the center should make corrections and implement their recommendation.
Demanding that the location for the new center be corrected to what was originally recommended by the District Technical Committee, locals of Raptisonari village council on Friday demonstrated and chanted slogans. They have warned that the agitation would not be stopped until and unless the corrections are made.
“Why has the center changed the location for the center when that has been recommended by locals?” asked Tikaram Basnet, a Nepali Congress leader. The local of Raptisonari village council stated that they were quite surprised and disappointed over the center’s decision. “We had recommended Agaiya as the center of our new local unit. But the center changed it and decided to make Kachanapur as the center instead. This is very dejecting,” he said.
According to Basnet, the protestors have begun to place sign boards and pamphlets in public places to advertise their choice of rural municipalities (village council). “When locals are not happy with the decision of the center, how can it be implemented? Mass meeting and all party meet have decided to ask the center to reinstate Agaiya as the center of their local unit,” he added.
Tejbahadur Oli, a CPN-UML leader, also stated that Kachanapur cannot be the center.
When locals have decided, it was unjust for the center to interfere, he said. “Locals calculated everything and had recommended Agaiya as the center. The place is congenial to everyone and therefore we decided to establish as the location for the center. The government must correct its decision,” Oli said. “It is sad to see that the government imposed its choice by discarding the popular will,” he added.
Former lawmaker Pattu Tharu of Baijapur also voiced similar concerns. He stated that locals would not let government offices run until and unless the corrections are made. “In the first phase, protest programs would be soft. But if the government pays no heed to it, we will intensify protest programs,” he said. Tharu added that the center cannot be any other place than Agaiya. “Only Agaiya is feasible from every angle. Preparations for making necessary infrastructures are already underway there,” Tharu stressed.
While receiving memorandum over the issue on Friday, District Administration Officer of Banke, Rabilal Pantha hinted that their demands would be addressed.
“If they are not happy with the center’s decision, amendment is possible to align with the original recommendation of the District committee,” said Pantha.
Hari Pyakurel, District Development Officer and member of the District Technical Committee said that public’s voice would be respected. “We are going to convey the message to the center. Public’s choice should be respected. Going against it cannot work,” he said.
Juddha Bahadur Budha, of Taksera village reiterated the same voice. He stated that the government should rethink over the issue at the earliest and make due correction. “In our case, we have demanded that the center of Taksera VDC should be at Taksera only. But, they have made some changes,” said Budha. “Whatever is recommended by locals cannot be altered. If that is done, we will be forced to boycott local level elections,” he warned.
Situation of conflict and tension is seen in Chaurhazari as well. The locals have taken to the street demanding correction of their local unit’s location. Dilli Bahadur Khatri of Chaurhazari lamented that the government’s decision has given unnecessary tension to them. “When we had recommended the location on their request, why did they change it? Whatever has been recommended by the locals must be followed at any cost,” he said. “If the government does not correct the name and location of the centers, we will be forced to boycott the local elections,” he also warned.