KATHMANDU, Dec 21: The government is preparing to assign senior most secretary of a village council or a municipal council that falls under a to-be-formed local government as the executive head of the new local government so as to avoid any leadership vacuum at the local levels.
This option was flouted by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), the line ministry dealing with federalism, after the existing local structures cease to exist once the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission submits its report to the government before the given deadline.
The constitution has a provision that the existing local bodies will cease to exist with the submission of the commission's report.
As per the constitutional provision, 3157 village development committees (VDCs) and 217 municipalities will be dissolved immediately after the report is submitted to the government. The commission formed to fix the numbers of local bodies in accordance to the federal setup as mentioned in the new constitution has finalized its report despite some reservations from Madhes-based parties over the number of local bodies in Province 5. Members of the commission say that preparations are underway to submit the report to the government this week.
"The existing local bodies will cease to exist, so we have no other option to avoid leadership void in the to-be-formed local government than to appoint the senior most secretary as the executive head," said Kedarnath Sharma, spokesperson at the MoFALD. The Ministry is all set to table the proposal at the cabinet soon, according to ministry officials.
Many doubt that there will be lack of human resources and infrastructure development projects will be hit hard once the local bodies are dissolved.
Civil servants in nodal points of the government bodies are bearing dual responsibilities -- administrative and political - since the parties failed to conduct elections in time. Local bodies in Nepal are running without elected people's representatives since 2002 with the emergence of the Maoist insurgency and protracted political transition thereafter.
In view of avoiding such mess, the Ministry has already asked the local level bodies to work out in line with addressing the human resource problems and other issues related to implementing the federalism.
"Local level offices have also been instructed to come up with preliminary assessment over fulfilling scarcity of human resources immediately although we have to conduct organizational and management survey to seek permanent solution," said Sharma.
A preliminary assessment conducted by the government has pointed out the need of at least 70 staffers and various infrastructures to run a local body. The commission has suggested over 750 local bodies in the new federal structure.