DANG, Jan 30: Shanti Chaudhary, the vice-chairperson of Gadhwa Rural Municipality, is the coordinator of the judicial committee of the rural municipality. As she has been entrusted with the responsibility of settling and resolving all the legal issues, she often has to travel to remote areas for doing her job.
She is often invited to attend programs and to solve contentious issues at various localities. Unfortunately, she is unable to reach to all places due to lack of means of transportation.
"I have not been able to reach to the spots for solving various issues due to unavailability of vehicles," said Vice-Chairperson Chaudhary.
Each rural municipality has been provided with a vehicle. However, those vehicles are more like private properties of the chairperson of the rural municipalities, according to vice-chairpersons who are mostly women.
"Sometimes, we ask for vehicles during emergency but the chairperson always refuses to allow us to use the vehicle," she said, adding, "The vehicle is kept at the house of the chairperson as if it is his own." Disputes have surfaced between the chairperson and vice-chairperson over the use of vehicle.
According to Chaudhary, she had to snatch the key of the vehicle after the chairperson didn't allow any other official to use the vehicle even for official purpose. "He should understand that the vehicle has not been gifted to him, it's for the use of the office," said Chaudhary.
She laments that she often has to reserve vehicles on her own to reach to remote areas to deal with legal cases. Before the elections, she had promised various women organizations that she would try her best to fight for their issues. Unfortunately, she is obliged to decline their invitation as she cannot manage to reach there.
Months after the elections, vice-chairperson of various rural municipalities who are the coordinators of the judicial committees, are still not familiar with the judicial proceedings. As they are struggling to understand the new laws, they have to reach to the spot to understand the nature of the case. There are altogether seven rural municipalities in Dang.
Besides that, managing household works along with office work has been an added burden for them. "Apart from the office work, we have to perform our household duties. We rarely reach home on time," said Mithila Sah, vice-chairperson of Shantinagar Rural Municipality, adding, "It would have been easier if we could use vehicle at least while returning home."
She laments that she has to use the motorcycle of her husband even for performing her office works. "I have to request my husband to drop me to various places for my work," Sah said.
The problem is more severe in the rural municipalities which lie in remote areas. According to Dhanpatidevi Yadav, vice-chairperson of Rajpur Rural Municipality, they can hardly use the vehicle of the rural municipality. "We are supposed to do equal work but why are the facilities and privileges not the same?" she questions.
In the beginning, vice chairpersons were elated when they were assured with all the facilities provided to the chiefs. However, it didn't take much time for them to realize that those were nothing more than myths. They say, reserving vehicles on their own has been a trouble also because they have not yet been provided with salaries.