Bases for new local administrative units suggested

Kathmandu, June 21

The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament today instructed the local bodies restructuring commission to make population, geography, access to transport services and infrastructure, natural resources and capacity of revenue collection as the bases for restructuring local administrative units in the new federal setup.

The panel made the instruction after holding discussions with experts and representatives of various political parties.

A majority of speakers suggested that the government hold the local polls in accordance with the provisions of the new constitution. Holding local polls in mid-December with old structures intact cannot be justified as the commission is mandated to restructure local administrative units by March 13.

NC leader Minendra Rijal said the ToR of the commission should be set by avoiding the mindset that existing districts are permanent structures. The ToR should allow the commission to change existing boundaries while restructuring local administrative units, he said.

Kiran Gurung of the CPN-UML said local polls should be held as per the new provision and in consensus between the political parties. Urmila Aryal of CPN Maoist Centre echoed Gurung.

Leader of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Shivaji Yadav said local polls should not be held until the constitution was made complete.

Sociologist Pitambar Sharma, former vice chairman of National Planning Commission Shankar Sharma and political scientist Krishna Hachhethu stressed that geography, population, financial viability and resources should be assessed well before delimiting local administrative units.

Stating that the ToR of the commission was narrow, the panel instructed the government to amend it so that the commission could change the boundaries of local units on the basis of necessity.

Chairman of the commission Balananda Paudel said five thematic committees had been formed to collect data. The commission also held consultations with local development officers. Paudel said the commission had begun consultations in Morang, Banke, Parbat and Jajarkot.

It is also holding consultations with experts to determine indicators and parameters for delimitation of local administrative units.

Meanwhile, the commission’s members today reached the office of the Election Commission and held interaction with Acting Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav and commissioner Ila Sharma on issues of restructuring that are also related to elections.

The commissioners suggested to the restructuring commission not to split existing VDCs and municipalities, saying it would create serious difficulties in managing the voter list.