ILAM, July 18: Locals living in remote areas of Ilam district were delighted to know that they would no longer have to walk to the district headquarters seeking any kind of government service since most government authorities were to be merged with the local units. But with the merger of such authorities, local units are having great difficulty managing staffers as they already have extremely low number of manpower.
It has been more than a year since the local elections were held but most of the local units are operating with less than half of the required staffers. A cabinet meeting on Monday made a decision to keep the authorities of the district headquarters under the local units and the provincial government.
Mahesh Basnet, mayor of Ilam Municipality, informed that it is still to be fixed which offices will work under which government.
"The cabinet is still to decide which authority will be placed under which government," Basnet stated. Local representatives too had been asking to bring the government offices of the headquarters under the local units. But that does not seem to be easy especially due to lack of manpower.
Besides that, there aren't sufficient vehicles, buildings for offices, and other infrastructures. There is a government sanctioned position for altogether 435 staffers in 10 local units of the district. But currently, only 143 such positions have been filled while others are vacant. As per the details provided by the District Coordination Committee (DCC), the position for 292 staffers is vacant at the moment. As per the provision, there should be 64 staffers in Ilam Municipality but currently the position for 34 is vacant.
Likewise, the government sanctioned position for 19 staffers in Chulachuli, 39 in Deumai, 22 in Fakfothum, 50 in Mai municipalities are vacant. Furthermore, the position for 20 staffers in Maijogmai Rural Municipality, 21 in Mangsebung, 16 in Rong, 15 in Sandakpur and 56 in Suryodaya rural municipalities are unoccupied too. These days, representatives are wondering how they will handle the day-to-day work in absence of sufficient staff after the merger of government authorities.
As per the cabinet decision, the District Forest, Agriculture and livestock Office, District Women and Children Office, Land Conservation Office, Hospital, Child Welfare Committee, Education and Peace committees, Urban Development and Building Construction Office, Sports Development Committee among others will be shifted from the headquarters.
"It's good that these authorities will now perform their job from the local units but there are no workers," said Jharendra Chapagain, an officer of the DCC.
Job of contract workers at risk
After the announcement of the merger of district-headquarters based government offices with the local units, workers hired on contract basis at those offices are worried about their jobs. Those who appeared for the Public Service Commission's exam will be transferred but those working in contract basis have not been told anything. There are 15 such workers, according to the DCC.