Bureaucrats taking decisions as elected representatives remain mute spectators

Published On: May 15, 2018 09:34 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DANG/RUKUM, May 15: Chief Executive Officer of Sharada Municipality of Salyan, Mahendra Dangi, was transferred to Lamahi Municipality, Dang. Soon after, another accountant from the same municipality was also transferred to Lamahi Municipality, where he joined his previous boss Dangi. The transfer saga does not end here. 

After the accountant was transferred, Dangi also brought three officials working in Salyan on contract basis. This created a shortage of workers in Sharada Municipality.  “Transfer of capable employees at once has made it difficult to carry out works,” said Sharada Municipality's mayor, Suresh Adhikari.

Lamahi Municipality decided to employ more officials at the municipality due to the shortage of manpower. But this decision was carried out by the executives rather than the local representatives. They brought officials close to them from Salyan. The elected representatives were dismayed by the preferential decision of the officials in selecting staff from other localities over their own locality.

“We could not complain as the power of recruitment of officials for the last three months of the current fiscal year is vested on governmental officials,” said a ward chairperson from Lamahi, adding, “The officers decided the recruitment.”

Meanwhile, mayor of Lamahi Municipality Kul Bahadur KC said that the problem arose due to shortage of capable officials in the municipality. “We searched for officials with technical skills. Since, we could not find such officials, we asked the chief executive officer to make the decision,” said Mayor KC. Cases of appointing officials at the behest of chief executive officer after disposing off other long-serving officers of the municipality have also been reported. An excavator driver was fired from the municipality after he was accused of not being competent. Another driver was transferred from Sharada Municipality in his place. 

Lamahi Municipality is continuing its monopoly in recruiting employees on contract basis. While the executive head of the municipality is eager to bring staff from other municipalities, the concerned official is refusing to continue the contract of a long-serving peon. IN this case, the elected representatives are helpless in extending his term. 

Nepalu Chaudhary, chairperson of ward no 2 of the municipality, repeatedly approached the municipality officials including Mayor Kul Bahadur KC demanding continuity of the peon's job but in a vain. Mayor KC refused to take up the issue saying that the executive officer is responsible for this matter. 

As of now, the chief executive officer of the municipality has not extended tenure of the peon. 

Locals complaints they have not experienced effective service delivery at the local offices due to non-cooperation from civil servants but the elected representatives are helpless regarding this issue. Local representatives have complained that they are still struggling to break the nearly two decades long monopoly of bureaucrats. Prior to the local elections, bureaucrats were handling both the administrative and political rights in the absence of elected representatives. 

“Local units have not been able to meet the peoples' expectations due to non-cooperation from the bureaucrats,” Bishnu Giri, Province 5 coordinator of National Association of Rural Municipality in Nepal said, adding, “Bureaucrats who had remained dominant in the local bodies in the last two decades still want to control everything on their own.”

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