VDCs turned into municipalities without meeting basic criteria
BHAKTAPUR, Aug 24: The government has declared various new municipalities in Bhaktapur district but, in true sense, they are no different than village development committees. Locals complained that the municipalities are just 'old wine in a new bottle' as they are still struggling to receive basic facilities meant for municipalities.
The municipalities still do not have road access, drinking water facilities, hospitals, and are far behind in waste management.
“Nothing has changed after our village development committee (VDC) was declared municipality. It's just for the sake of name,” said Yagya Bahadur Karki, a local of Gunduk, Ananta Lingeshwar Municipality.
“After the declaration of municipality, we are forced to pay high rate of tax. Yet, we are still struggling to receive basic facilities,” she added.
Rajan Fanju, information officer of Surybinayak Municipality, said all the newly declared municipalities are reeling under various problems.
“Firstly, we do not have sufficient human resources. And the office space are not enough even for the existing employees,” he said.
The office of Suryabinayak Municipality currently has only ten staff. In lack of space and human resources, the municipality still has not set up ward offices in many of its wards.
Rohit Bahadur Ranabhat, a disgruntled local of Balkot in Aananta Lingeshwar Municipality, complained that the municipality still has not developed sewage management system. “We are suffering in lack of cleanliness campaigns and other developmental projects,” he said.
However, change in mentality of the people has also contributed to the snail's pace of development, according to Suryabinayak's information officer Fanju.
“When we were still VDC, locals had the mentality that they should develop their own village and take initiative for development. Now with the declaration of municipality, they believe that municipality receives budget for development and the municipality office should look after everything,” he said.
Four new municipalities were recently declared in Bhaktapur. Ananta Ligeshwar, Suryabinayak, Mahamunjushree, Nagarkot and Changunarayan municipalities were added despite failing to meet the basic criteria to be declared as municipalities.