Unlikely to finish all tasks within deadline: LBRC

Kathmandu, March 6

The Local Bodies Restructuring Commission said that it could only provide theoretical framework on special, protected, and autonomous regions to the government, as completing the remaining tasks within the stipulated deadline was almost impossible for them.

LBRC Chair Balananda Paudel said the commission had only four working days to complete the remaining tasks and yet the government had not provided the endorsed copy of the report on the number and boundaries of local bodies as of today evening.

The government decided yesterday to create 744 local levels in the country after the government task force led by Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Pandey suggested adding local levels on the basis of Ilakas in Province-2.

The LBRC had recommended creation of 719 local levels in its original report submitted on January 6.

The LBRC has to complete the report on special, protected and autonomous region, structure of the public administration in federal model and their economic feasibilities by March 13 as per the constitutional deadline.

“We have been discussing further moves,” said Paudel.

The United Democratic Madhesi Front says that the LBRC’s report does not ensure local levels in proportion with the population in Madhes.

It also says that the report is incomplete as it is sans the number and boundaries of special, protected and autonomous regions.

The government had refused to endorse the original report submitted by the LBRC and formed a task force to increase the  number of local levels mainly  in Province-2 to address the issues raised by the UDMF.

“We may give theoretical framework to the government before we wind up our mission,” said LBRC member Neerarjaj Shah.

He said that the commission had discussed a lot about the number of local levels and concluded that chances of sustainability of local levels would be high, when their size was large. When the size of a local level is too small, it will have to depend on the central government for grants and other aids, he argued.

“The government and the parties have forgotten that they are creating local governments,” added Shah. He said that chances of the merger of local levels would be slim after the election.

Meanwhile, legal experts said that preparing report on special, protected and autonomous region from a separate task force would be unconstitutional and not without legal issues.

“There is no provision in the constitution that the report on special, protected, and autonomous regions could be prepared by a task force or panel of experts,” said constitutional expert Bhimarjun Acharya. Acharya said that the government had violated the constitutional provision by revising the LBRC report.

Former vice president of Nepal Bar Association Surendra Kumar Mahto said that the constitution has not prepared for a scenario where the report can be prepared by a separate mechanism. “Both government and the LBRC are responsible,” said Mahto.

Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha said that the government would take appropriate decision on preparing a report on special, protected and autonomous regions.

Meanwhile, LBRC member Sunil Ranjan Singh today resigned from his post, accusing the government of infringing on the commission’s jurisdiction.