KATHMANDU, May 19: Two parallel administrative centers have been in existence for the past two years in Thulibheri Municipality of Dolpa, following a dispute among the local representatives over the center of the local unit.
The mayor of the municipality, Ganesh Bahadur Shahi, has been working at the office at Jufal, the official administrative center. But Deputy Mayor Yogendra Bahadur Shahi has been running a parallel office at the district headquarters Dunai.
Irked with the decision of the municipal assembly to shift the administrative center of the local unit to Jufal, Deputy Mayor Yogendra Shahi and seven other ward committee chairpersons challenged the decision at the Supreme Court. As a result, the municipality has been failing to execute development activities mostly in those wards lobbying for Dunai as the administrative center, said Ward 3 Chairperson Arna Bahadur Neupane.
Thulibheri is not the only local unit facing this problem in Karnali Province. There are over a dozen local units in the province that have failed to perform well due to rows over their administrative centers. Although the Local Government Operation Act 2017 has made it mandatory for the local units to decide over their administrative centers within six months of the local election, some local units have failed to introduce even proposals for fixing the centers owing to disputes over the matter. Local election in Karnali Province was held on 14 May 2017.
Seven of the total nine local units in Surkhet district have failed to fix their administrative centers for two years since the local election in the country. Barahatal and Chaukune rural municipalities have even failed to hold discussions on the agenda, given serious divisions among the elected representatives over the administrative center of the local units. Simta and Chingad rural municipalities have shifted their centers while Birendranagar Municipality has decided to continue with the previous center, recommended by the local-level restructuring commission. But Chingad has been carrying out its works from Abalching in the absence of necessary infrastructures at the newly-decided upon center.
Out of the six local units in Rukum (West), only three have finalized their administrative centers. A decision by Triveni Rural Municipality to shift its administrative center to Kharaneta from Muru has been challenged at the apex court. As the representatives got divided over whether to shift the center to Dwarejeula or Simli, Sanibheri Rural Municipality, too, has been struggling to fix its administrative center for the past two years.
Similarly, Chaurjahari Municipality has also failed to finalize its permanent administrative center as the elected representatives remain divided over Chaurjahari bazaar, Kholagaun and Nuwakot as the center of the local unit.
Three of the four local units in Mugu have not finalized their permanent administrative centers so far. According to Tshiring Capne Lama, chief of Mugum Karmarong Rural Municipality, the local unit has failed to decide over shifting its administrative center following pressure from the locals of the current temporary center.
In Dailekh, two of the total 11 local units are yet to fix their administrative centers. Aathbis Municipality has become a hostage of disputes between Mayor Khadkaraj Upadhyay and Deputy Mayor Dipa Bohara, affecting the decision over the administrative center of the local unit as well as the overall development activities.
Similarly, Dullu Municipality in the district has also failed to accelerate development and other activities as well as fixing its administrative center due to a row between the mayor and the deputy mayor.
The row over the administrative center has become counterproductive for the local representatives because their lobby for one location has been alienating the people from another place and they have failed to execute the development activities.