KATHMANDU, July 18: Although the government formally transferred power of various 18 district bodies following the implementation of federalism to local units from Tuesday, local units have complained that they are still not ready to provide the services of the district bodies due to shortage of manpower and resources.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA), a total of 18 district bodies that were in operation under the centralized system have been dissolved from Tuesday and that the jurisdiction of those bodies have been formally transferred to municipalities and rural municipalities of the respective districts.
Among the district bodies dissolved are district education offices, district public health offices, district agriculture development offices, district technical offices, district forest offices, district child welfare committees, district cooperative offices, district hospitals, district irrigation offices, district drinking water offices, urban development division offices, women and children offices and district sports development committees.
As per the Local Government Operation Act 2074, each local unit should set up various sections within its office to offer services that were being offered by the dissolved district bodies.
However, given manpower crunch and resource constraints faced by majority of the local units, local units are unlikely to deliver services being offered the district bodies anytime soon.
“Although the the offices have been dissolved, their property, documents and funds have yet to be transferred to the local units and the task is contentious. For instance, there are 13 local bodies in Kavrepalanchowk and the property and other logistics like vehicles of the district bodies need to be allocated evenly among the local bodies,” Chief Administrative Officer of Banepa Municipality Bhoj Raj Ghimire said.
He said that the government should immediately supply the local bodies with necessary manpower and logistics so that they can offer the services provided by the dissolved bodies. “Otherwise, service seekers will face difficulties,” he added.
Three months ago, the MoFAGA had formed a five-member sub-committee each in all districts to carry out the process of transfer of power, property and relevant documents of the district bodies to municipalities or village councils and provincial bodies. But the sub-committee has yet to complete its task.
Similarly, the task of transferring employees of the dissolved district authorities is also complicated. While top officials of the district bodies have either been transferred to provincial or central levels, junior officials have preferred to work at the local units at easily accessible areas.
Many local units in remote areas are still reeling under severe manpower crunch.
Chief of Menchhyam Rural Municipality of Tehrathum, Yadav Bahadur Khapung, maintained that his municipality is not in a position to deliver services of the dissolved district bodies due to the shortage of manpower and logistics. “As per the law, each of the section of the municipality needs to be headed by an under-secretary or a section officer. But we have been forced to run our municipality with just 40 per cent of the required manpower,” he added. He criticized the government for not supplying staffers to the local bodies.Three days ago, the ministry concluded that it needed 57,690 employees immediately at the local level. Secretary at the ministry Dinesh Thapaliya said that the ministry is working to fill the vacancies at the local units as soon as possible.