Locals stage a sit-in on the premises of Sukhipur Municipality of Siraha district on Monday, protesting against irregularities at the municipality. (Mithilesh Yadav/Republica)
SIRAHA, June 12: When the local elections were finally held last year after a hiatus of two decades, happiness knew no bounds for the residents of Siraha district. That happiness was brought about by the promises made by the elected local representatives. The locals were desperate to see the change.However, their hopes were dashed just a few months after the local elections. The promises sold to the voters remained just as speeches by politicians desperate to win elections.Although the current fiscal year is about to end, Sukhipur Municipality of the district still has not finalized contracts for any new projects. Ward no. 10 of the municipality has ten projects waiting for the finalization of contracts. The situation is no different in other wards.
Many projects remain stalled because of disputes between the ward chairpersons and the mayor over the formation of consumers' committees. The ward chairpersons claim that such committees couldn't be formed as the mayor intervened in the selection of beneficiaries.
“The mayor returned the file to us instead of approving it because the consumer committees did not have members he wanted,” said ward-10 chairman Ram Lakhan Mahato. “As his choice of persons are not included, the mayor just returns the files without approving them. This has prevented many projects from coming into operation.”
Ward-3 Chairman Bijaykaran Das has the same complaint. “Projects worth around Rs 4.2 million have remained stagnant due to the same reason,” he said.
According to Chief Administrative Officer Binod Bhattarai of Sukhipur Municipality, ward number 10 does not have a single project running. “I have not received any file regarding the formation of a consumer committee. Although I have heard that the formation of consumer committee has triggered lots of disputes, I do not know in detail,” he said.
Bhattarai further added that ward number 3 still has some projects pending for approval due to the same dispute. “Other remaining wards have some construction projects running following the due process.”
On the other hand, Mayor Ram Awatar Yadav said some people are unnecessarily obstructing the projects, preventing the formation of consumer committees.
Likewise, disputes between chiefs and deputy chiefs of some local units are also the reasons behind such problems. In Aurahi Rural Municipality, a team of local representatives led by deputy chief Sita Kumari Yadav boycotted the rural municipality council meeting stating that the council meeting was held wrongly and also citing corruption in last year's budget of the rural municipality.