Govt to fix temporary province capitals

Published On: January 3, 2018 06:55 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Proposed capitals : Biratnagar, Janakpur, Thimi, Pokhara, Dang, Birendranagar, Dhangadi for Provinces 1 to 5 respectively

KATHMANDU, Jan 3: In a bid to fix temporary capitals for the federal provinces, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers prepared a list of the proposed seven provincial capitals, Tuesday. 

According to spokesperson at OPMCM Hari Prasad Panthi, the office has finalized a proposal for the seven temporary capitals. Based on the recommendation of the Urban Development Ministry, OPMCM has proposed Biratnagar as the capital of Province-1, Janakpur as Province-2 capital, Thimi as capital for Province-3, Pokhara for Province-4, Dang for Province-5, Birendranagar for 6 and Dhangadi for Province-7. 

 “We have sorted out the temporary capitals on the basis of the availability of physical infrastructure, management of civil servants, security arrangements and other infrastructure and facilities,” Panthi told Republica. According to him, the capitals were recommended by the ministry after a field study.

Though the names were proposed at a meeting of the high-powered Federal Administration Restructuring Committee at the OPMCM on Tuesday, the meeting didn't discuss anything about the capitals, said former general administration minister Tek Bahadur Basnet. According to him, the meeting endorsed the number of ministries at the center at 15 and at the provinces at seven to 22 depending on the size of the provincial assembly. 

Earlier, the Federal Administration Restructuring Committee had suggested 15 cities as potential provincial capitals. The committee had suggested Pokhara, Surket and Janakpur as the capitals for Provinces-4, 6 and 2 respectively. But Biratnagar, Itahari and Dhankuta were recommended as the choices for Province-1, Banepa, Dhulikhel, Kathmandu Valley and Hetauda for Province-3, Tulsipur, Dang and Butwal for 5, and Dhangadhi and Dipayal for Province-7.

According to sources, the agriculture office building has been recommended as the administrative office of Province-1 and the Sabha Griha as the provincial assembly meeting venue. Likewise, the unused Janakpur Cigarette Factory buildings have been recommended for the administrative office and assembly hall for Province-2. 

The committee has recommended various government buildings at Thimi for use as administrative offices and the Staff College Hall at Jawalakhel as the provincial assembly meeting venue. The sources further said that the Municipal Development Council building can be used as the administrative office of Province 4, and the irrigation office of Lamahi and other government offices in Ghorahi as administrative offices for Province-5. 

Leaders of major political parties, provincial assembly members and locals have been divided over the choice of provincial capitals in provinces including 5, 1 and 2. Though a two-third majority of the provincial assembly can decide the provincial capital in line with the constitution, analysts say it would be difficult for some provinces to secure a two-thirds majority in favor of a particular city or to change the provincial capitals. 

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