Cabinet gives additional mandate to LBRC

Kathmandu, September 27

A Cabinet meeting today decided to give additional mandate to the Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission for demarcating boundaries of local bodies on the basis of existing structure of Ilakas.

On Sunday, the three major parties Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre and CPN-UML had agreed on carving out local bodies on the basis of structure of Ilakas.

There are 927 Ilakas, and three to four VDCs comprise one Ilaka.

“If old Ilakas have already merged into municipalities, those municipalities will incorporate more VDCs,” said Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak.

The commission will be able to take additional decision by judging local necessity and accessibility, according to Lekhak.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajay Shankar Nayak said the number of local bodes would be around 800, as previous Ilakas, or parts of them, have been incorporated in new municipalities. Nayak told The Himalayan Times that the number of local bodies wouldn’t be exactly the same as Ilakas.

LBRC, headed by former secretary Balananda Poudel, had proposed 565 local bodies in the new federal set-up. An LBRC member, Sunil Ranjan Singh, said the new mandate would violate the spirit of the constitution, and the commission should take its decisions independently. “It’s against the spirit of Article 295 (3) of the constitution,” he added.

Earlier today, the United Democratic Madhesi Front also expressed its discontent with the major parties’ decision of demarcating local bodies on the basis of Ilakas. During a meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, UDMF leaders urged the PM not to decide on the number of local bodies until a decision was taken on federal states and its boundaries.

“Population should dictate the number of local bodies,” said Sadbhawana Party Chair Rajendra Mahato, who attended

the meeting. Minister Nayak claimed that the Cabinet decision was taken after a broad understanding among all political parties, including the Madhes-based parties.

He, however, stated that the major concern of UDMF leaders was early amendment of the constitution and withdrawal of cases against those involved in the anti-constitution Madhes movement since last year. According to him, UDMF had expressed concern about the two issues.

The PM, meanwhile, said the local bodies’ restructuring would be done taking into consideration concerns of all parties. He added that groundwork was being done to amend the constitution, according to a statement issued by the PM’s Secretariat.