PM for delineation report by mid-Oct

Published On: September 1, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 1: After failing to forge consensus among the political parties on local restructuring, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has asked the commission formed to fix the number and boundaries of local bodies under the new federal setup to expedite its work so that the government can hold local polls by mid-April, 2017. 

During a meeting with the commission's chairman, Balananda Poudel, Prime Minister Dahal asked him to expedite the local restructuring work and submit the commission report by mid-October so that the government can hold local polls by mid-April. 

During the meeting, Poudel said that disagreement among political parties regarding the number of local bodies in the new setup has hampered the commission in its work and it may not be able to have its report ready on time. 

"After our chairman said that the commission may not submit its report by mid-October, the prime minister asked it to carry out its tasks as per the mandate given by the Constitution and the government and submit the report on time," said Sunil Ranjan Singh, a member of the commission, speaking about the meeting. He said the prime minister directed the commission to expedite its task, bearing in mind the government's plans to hold local polls by mid-April.  The Election Commission had earlier said that it must have the report of the restructuring commission by mid-October if local elections are to be held by mid-April.

Poudel later briefed the commission members on his meeting with the prime minister.

Poudel had informed the prime minister that the district technical committees formed to recommend the numbers of local units in all 75 districts have not been able to submit their reports due to disagreements among political parties regarding these numbers, Singh said.  The commission had asked the committees to submit their reports by Wednesday but so far only 7 districts have managed to do so. 

Singh further said that the commission will hold a meeting on Thursday and extend the deadline for the district technical committees.   

He also said that Prime Minister Dahal had inquired if the number of local units could be increased above the proposed number through some changes to the criteria set by the commission. The commission has proposed creating altogether 565 village councils and municipalities under the federal setup.

"But our chairman said the number of local bodies cannot be increased except in some exceptional cases as increasing the number rampantly would only place an additional burden on state coffers and invite other administrative complexities," he added. As the prime minister also had now directed that the task be duly carried out, the commission would do just that, Singh further added.

He went on to say that the technical committees would submit their reports without any delay even if the government failed to forge consensus among the major political players.   

Under pressure from their local leaders, the Nepali Congress has been demanding a doubling of the number of units proposed by the commission, while the CPN (Maoist Centre) has maintained that the number could be increased on the basis of political understanding.

The main opposition CPN-UML, for its part, has said that the parties should stick to the existing proposal of the commission, which is a constitutional body.     

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