SARLAHI, April 23: The office of Balara Municipality has resumed operation after 20 days following an agreement with five ward chiefs and locals who had padlocked the office as a protest against the mayor.
The ward chiefs and locals had staged a relay sit-in accusing Mayor Abhay Singh of keeping them in the dark regarding the works and decisions of the municipality. They had started the protest from April 2 by padlocking the municipal office and staging the relay sit-in. As the ward chiefs continued their protest, the locals also joined them. Protesters agreed to postpone their sit-in after a committee was formed on Saturday to resolve the problems.
However, the padlock was removed a day later on Sunday. "Finally the office has been reopened after 20 days," said Bikash Kumar Rajak, chief administrative officer of the municipality. According to him, the protest staged in the final few months of the current fiscal year obstructed a lot of development projects. "Now, if we don't speed up our work, it will be challenging to spend the sanctioned budget for the current fiscal year," he added.
A three-member committee including member of parliament Amresh Kumar Singh, provincial member Upendra Kushwaha and Mayor Abhay Singh has been formed to resolve the issues before May 5. Kaushal Kishwor Singh, who has time and again participated in the protest, informed that the agitators agreed to postpone their protest after the committee promised to address their problems.
As blamed by the ward chiefs, Mayor Singh had formed a consumers' committee to look after a local road project worth Rs 8 million and also appointed his brother Pankaj Singh as its chief. The irate ward chiefs and locals vented their ire against the mayor and demanded to scrap the committee. They also demanded the mayor to maintain transparency in development projects.
The protesters have warned of conducting violent protests if the committee fails to resolve the contentious issues within the deadline, informed Kaushal Kishwor Singh.
However, Mayor Abhay Singh has declined all the accusations. He has time and again claimed that he has been very transparent on his works.