Decision on East Rukum HQ stayed

  • The govt had decided to shift East Rukum’s HQ from Rukumkot to Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality   

Kathmandu, February 1

The Supreme Court today stayed the government’s January 25 decision to shift the headquarters of Rukum East district from Rukumkot to Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality-12.

A single bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Karki issued an interim order till February 10.

The case will be heard again on February 11 when the apex court, after hearing arguments from both sides, will decide whether or not to continue the stay order, said Assistant Spokesperson of the SC Nagendra Kalakheti.

The government had, on January 25, decided to shift the headquarters of Rukum East from Rukumkot-2 to Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality- 12.

A case was filed by three residents of Rukum East district — Ganesh Hamal, Krishna Regmi and Datta Bahadur Basnet — against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, among others. Plaintiffs’  lawyer Senior Advocate Surya Dhungel said his client had filed a case against the government after it decided to shift Rukum East headquarters from Rukumkot to Putha Uttarganga Rural  Muncipality-12.

Dhungel said the decision to name Rukumkot the district headquarters was taken by the elected body of the District Assembly and even the Cabinet had endorsed it, but Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba later changed the decision without any credible grounds.

Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality-12 is at the distance of 50 kilometers from Rukumkot.

Dhungel said 36,000 out of 53,000 population of the district resided in and around Rukumkot and all the government offices, including the District Court were located in Rukumkot. He said the residents of Rukumkot had been protesting even since the government took the decision. “Some of the protesters have staged sit-in in some government offices, including the District Administration Office, and if the protest continues, it could create law and order problems in the area,” he added.

One of the petitioners Ganesh Hamal told THT that PM Deuba had decided to shift the headquarters after some of his party cadres pressured him to do so, but if the headquarters was shifted to Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality then it would cause great inconvenience to residents of the district.

“Putha Uttarganga is at the foothill, close to the mountains and there are no offices or infrastructure to justify shifting the district headquarters.

Residents of the districts have to trek to reach Putha Uttarganga Rural Municipality. There are only four or five houses and there is no internet connection in the area,” Hamal added.  The Supreme Court also issued a show cause notice to the government.