SARLAHI, April 16: A large number of women of Balara Municipality staged a relay sit-in on Sunday venting their disappointment against the mayor of the municipality for his “monopoly” in taking official decisions.
They have accused Mayor Abhay Singh of forming a consumer committee for a local road project and appointing his own brother Pankaj Kumar Singh as its chairperson.
Chiefs of five wards of the municipality have been staging a relay sit-in from April 2, accusing the mayor of making official decisions without consulting them. On the 14th day of the protest, 10 local women decided to express solidarity with the ward chiefs by joining the protest.
Sirjadevi Mandal, Radhikadevi Paswan, Shantidevi Paswan, Ram Kumari Shakan, Laxmidevi Mandal, Sundaridevi Mandal, Girsidevi Sahkan, Ramwatidevi Mandal, Akalidevi Paswan and Ukchidevi Mandal of Balara Municipality have joined the sit-in from Sunday, according to Kaushal Kishwor Singh, a local social figure.
Radhika Paswan accused the mayor of preferring his personal relationships to official work. "We have no idea when and how this consumers committee was formed," said Satish Kumar Singh, chief of ward no.1. The committee will be responsible for handling a project worth Rs 8 million. As stated by the ward chiefs, the municipality took the responsibility of the project with the ill-intention of misappropriating the funds.
The protesters have demanded that the consumer's committee be scrapped and transparency be maintained in budget allocation and distribution of social security allowances. Ramdaresh Das, chief of ward no.9, warned of starting a fast-unto-death if their demands are not addressed in the next few days.
On the other hand, Mayor Singh has been claiming that he has been doing everything as per the law. "I formed the committee after the approval of villagers and they were the ones who chose my brother as the chairperson," Mayor Singh claims. As stated by him, he wanted to speed up the blacktopping project of Karmaiya-Hathiyoul regional road section which was signed 25 years ago. "It's the members of Nepali Congress who have been doing all this to obstruct the project," said Mayor Singh who got elected from Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) in the local elections.