Province 1 CM proposes to decentralize provincial capital

Published On: September 30, 2018 06:27 AM NPT By: Binod Subedi

BIRATNAGAR, Sept 30: Province 1 Chief Minister (CM) Sherdhan Rai has initiated discussions to seek support for his proposal to decentralize the provincial capital by scattering ministries in various districts of the province.

He intends to establish Biratnagar as the provincial capital but wants to have different ministries in different places of the province. The proposal comes at a time when a heated debate is ongoing for naming the province and fixing its permanent capital. 

According to reliable sources, discussions have been going on to keep the office of the provincial executive head in Biratnagar, provincial assembly office in Itahari and other ministries in Ilam, Jhapa and other districts. CM Rai has been holding separate unofficial discussions with members of the assembly from various districts to garner support for his proposal.

Social media users have responded both positively and negatively to the proposal. While some of them have supported the proposal citing the likelihood of faster development, others have disapproved it, claiming that it is not practical and will give lots of hassles to service seekers. 

“In order to make the government effective, it is important that all ministries are at the same place,” said Bimal Karki, a member of the provincial assembly. “If it’s not possible to keep all ministries in the same compound, then the ministries should be placed within the ‘Greater Biratnagar’ area envisioned by the budget.”

Lawmaker Karki also suggested that it is not the right time to fix the provincial capital as construction of the required infrastructures could take another four more years.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Buddhi Kumar Rajbhandari acknowledged that the CM held informal discussions on his proposal. “However, the official discussions have not begun. The topic may be discussed in the upcoming provincial assembly meetings on coming Monday and Tuesday.”

Opposition parties are strictly against the proposal. Party leaders have already clarified that they would not accept the scattering of ministries. 

“The CM has not discussed the issue with us. However, if the government takes such a decision, we’ll take to the streets,” he warned.

Likewise, Jayaram Yadav, a leader of the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, also opposed the proposal stating that it would cause great inconvenience to the general public. 

“Having different ministries at different places will make internal coordination very difficult. This practice will also be against the internationally accepted standards. The developed countries have long been providing services from one compound,” he said. 

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