Political interest dominates local body restructuring debate

Published On: August 4, 2016 02:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 4: The constitution has provisions that require determination of the number and borders of village and municipal councils within six months of the promulgation of the statute.

The restructuring of local bodies as per the new constitution, however, has been dominated by political interests of parties and leaders at the local level. As a result, conflict of interest has surfaced in many districts resulting in tension among major political parties.

Discussions organized by the local level restructuring technical assistance committees in various districts have ended with heated debate among political leaders and parties.

The discussions on restructuring local bodies remained futile in Bajura district as different political parties have taken their own stance on the issue. Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) are adamant on pressing for their own proposal on restructuring, leading to failure in forging consensus.

According to locals, all the political parties are focused on strengthening their position through local body restructuring, hence they are unable to form consensus. This has indicated that the restructuring issue will be delayed even further.

According to the Local Level Restructuring Technical Assistance Committee of Bajura, an all-party meeting held in the district headquarters Martadi recently yielded no result as the big three parties expressed conflicting views. “We failed to come to an agreement on restructuring after the three parties remained adamant on their own stand,” said Local Development Officer (LDO) Arjun Prasad Subedi.

“We will now hold area-level meeting and move forward on the basis of its conclusion,” he added. Seminars would be held on four areas on August 8 to note the opinions of the locals, he informed.

CPN-UML held a secret meeting in Martadi on Thursday to discuss about local body restructuring. According to sources, they discussed about making power of the party more balanced through restructuring local bodies. NC is also preparing to hold internal meeting regarding the issue.

The situation is no different in Doti, Mugu and Darchula. Determining the number and border of the village bodies, municipalities have become tough at the local level.

Political parties in Doti dubbed the demarcation of local bodies based on population as an impractical move. The restructuring should keep into consideration the geography, social and economic status, remoteness of the locality and population, local political leaders said.

A single village council is not possible in Doti and Achham even after merger of 44 village development committees if we continue local body restructuring based on population, they added.

The situation is the same in Darchula. Locals are not satisfied with the restructuring proposal, Pushkar Raj Joshi, a civil society member of Dachula, said.


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