Report on restructuring local units unlikely by mid-October

Published On: September 6, 2016 01:10 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

-Commission chairman appeals to political parties to participate in task 
-Local restrucutring in Province 2 most challenging 

KATHMANDU, Sept 6: The Commission on Numbers and Boundaries of Local Units under the federal system has received feedback from only 16 districts so far.

As the number of reports received from the technical committees formed in all 75 districts is very insignificant, officials at the Commission said that it is almost impossible to submit the Commission's final report to the government by mid-October as demanded by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. 

“We have received reports with suggested numbers of local units from only 16 of the 75 districts so far. As local political leaders in the districts have been uncooperative, the technical committees in the remaining 59 districts are yet to submit their reports,” said Commission Chairman Balananda Poudel, adding that the Commission is unlikely to submit its report to the government by mid-October. 

The government asked the Commission to submit its report by mid-October so that local polls can be  held by mid-April, 2017. If the Commission does not submit its report by mid-October, the local polls cannot be held by mid-April as the Election Commission has made it clear it needs at least six months after the Commission report is in to hold the polls. 

As of now, only the districts of Dadeldhura, Syangja, Kaski, Tanahun, Gorkha, Surkhet, Mugu, Sindhupalchowk, Baglung, Dharchula, Dang, Bajura, Dolpa, Kanchanpur, Jumla and Salyan have submitted their reports. 

“We are trying to forge consensus among local political leaders on the number of local units. But as the political parties are demanding an increase in the number of local units, it has been really difficult to forge any consensus and finalize our report,” said Pradeep Raj Adhikari, local development officer and coordinator of the technical committee in Kalikot district. Adhikari had to come to Kathmandu to hold talks with central-level politicians from Kalikot and seek their help in facilitating consensus in the district. 

Worse still, the local restructuring has been most challenging in the eight districts of Province No. 2 . The technical committees in all these districts have not even been able to start consultations on finalizing the number of local units, let alone preparing their reports. 

“Political parties in the eight districts of Province 2 want the issue of provincial delineations to be settled first, but this is a political matter,"  Poudel said adding, "So a team from the centre is planning to facilitate matters in the eight districts and create a favorable environment for the local restructurings.” 

The Nepali Congress, under pressure from its local leaders, has been demanding double the number of local units proposed by the Commission, while the CPN (Maoist Centre) has maintained that the number could be increased through political understanding. The main opposition CPN-UML, on the other hand, has said that the parties should stick to the Commission's existing proposal. This disagreement has left the Commission's task in a state of limbo.     

Poudel said the Commission is stymied by lack of cooperation from the political parties.

"If the Commission cannot submit its report on time, it will be solely because of the political parties," he said, adding, " So, I urge all the parties to participate in the local restructuring process."  

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