KATHMANDU, Nov 14: The government has extended the deadline for selecting the constituency infrastructure development special programs by a month as majority of lawmakers failed to propose special development programs for their constituencies on time.
The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development decided to extend the deadline by a month as it did not receive proposals from most of the lawmakers till the originally set deadline of mid-November. “With our set deadline, the lawmakers could not manage to propose their programs for their own constituencies,” Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, secretary at the ministry, told Republica.
The Rs 30 million budget for each lawmaker elected under the first-past-the-post system was allocated this fiscal year after the lawmakers exerted huge pressure on the government to do so. The ministry had issued notice asking the lawmakers to submit their proposal two months ago but only a few lawmakers have submitted it so far.
“We have extended the deadline by a month only because of lawmakers' request. They said that they could not manage enough time to submit their proposal due to their busy schedule,” Adhikari further said.
The budget is meant for lawmakers to involve themselves in the development of their election constituencies. The directly elected lawmakers can select various development infrastructure projects such as construction of roads, bridges, drinking water facility, irrigation, education, health and renewable energy in their constituency.
“As per the regulation, we had given a deadline till mid-November for registering their special programs at the concerned District Development Committee (DDC) offices,” Adhikari added.
Former lawmaker Hari Rokka criticized the government's move to extend the deadline.
“Firstly, I was disappointed that the government decided to give budget to lawmakers for the development programs. This is worthless in our country where even the state agencies are failing to carry out effective development works,” he said. “Demanding the time extension shows how irresponsible our lawmakers are.”
Rabindra Adhikari, CPN-UML lawmaker and chairman of Parliament's Development Committee, opposed Rokka's views. He said that it was necessary to extend the deadline because of unstable government.
“I have submitted the programs to the DDC but some of the representatives from the remote districts are yet to submit it,” he said. “So, this extension is necessary.”
He also blamed change in the government for the delay in submitting the proposal. “After change in the government's leadership, the DDC chiefs also got reshuffled and it made us difficult to submit the special programs,” he added.
The program was incorporated through the enactment of the 'Constituency Infrastructure Development Special Program Regulation 2014.'
The government had allocated at least Rs 1 million for each project totaling 30 projects at maximum in a constituency. Under this program, concerned DDC office will be responsible for the implementation and the settlement of the accounts of such projects.