RUPANDEHI, Aug 4: One year after the election of local representatives, most of the local units in rural areas are still operating without full manpower. Though political parties and candidates during the election campaigns pledged to bring the facilities of 'Singha Durbar' to the villages, that has been nothing more than a myth so far.
When the government announced local elections after a hiatus of 20 years, the residents of Marchwari Rural Municipality, one of the underdeveloped local units of Rupandehi, were delighted. They had started dreaming about better facilities and services within the next few months. However, their woes are no different even after a year. The absence of full-fledged work force has deprived people of various kinds of services.
A single staff is obliged to handle lots of works. There are seven wards in the local unit but not even one has a secretary. "We have three office helpers who have been doing the work of seven wards," said Shyam Krishna Paudel, chief administrative officer of Marchwari.
There is a vacancy for under-secretaries in the rural municipality but Paudel is handling the work all alone by himself. The local units even lack accountants. It is not as if the federal government does not send the staffers but they tend to disappear on the way.
"We have time and again drawn the attention of the District Coordination Committee (DCC) and the concerned ministry but to no avail," laments Keshav Baniya, chairperson of the rural municipality. According to him, the workers sent by the ministry stop coming to the office after a week as they find it difficult to work in rural areas.
Apart from a chief administrative officer and a non-gazette officer, there are no other staffers in government-sanctioned positions. It was due to lack of staffers that Marchwari could not spend the budget of Rs 30 million last fiscal year.
Similarly, the work of Sammarimai Rural Municipality is equally affected in the absence of required workers. "Few days ago, the ministry had deployed an accountant and an assistant accountant but they returned back to their own place before reaching here," said Tokraj Pandey, executive officer of Sammarimai. Workers are so much obsessed with the facilities and services of urban areas that they can hardly adjust in rural parts.
In Sammarimai, five out of total seven wards do not have secretaries. While the local units have been performing their works with great difficulties in lack of workers, the responsible authorities have turned a blind eye to this. Various offices such as education, health, agriculture, animal and women's office are operating without the required number of staffers.
Romnath Neupane, chief administrative officer of Mayadevi Rural Municipality stated that it has been challenging for the local units to carry out the day-to-day work and other projects due to the unavailability of workers. There are altogether eight wards in Mayadevi and one secretary is doing the work of two wards now.
Ekraj Bishwokarma, coordinator of the DCC, Rupandehi, informed that lack of staffers has been a serious problem in Marchwari and Lumbini areas. "We do recommend the workers but they prefer to go to urban areas where there are vacancies," he said.