Bajura, August 10

Amidst the government’s ruling that the modality of restructuring of local bodies should be resolved at the district level and sent to the centre by mid-August, discussions have gained momentum in Bajura of late with political parties vying for securing a better position for themselves in the restructured bodies.

Though there is tentative agreement to make three municipal and four village assemblies in the district, major political parties — the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre are at odds regarding which wards should be merged. The issue has become complex with the parties more concerned about devising assemblies to benefit their partisan interests rather than the convenience of local residents.

Discussions on the issue in the district have been held on two occasions. Such a discussion was held once among political parties’ representatives in Kathmandu as well. Discussion on the same issue in the village development committee level is also on.

According to Local Level Restructuring Technical Support Committee member and Assistant Chief District Officer Bhim Bahadur Shahi, consensus has been elusive given the differing stances of political stakeholders. “As the parties are more concerned about how to consolidate their clout, the issue has become a bone of contention,” Shahi said.

Though there is agreement among the parties to merge Barhabisa, Brahmatola and Kuldevmandau VDCs to form a municipal assembly, disputes persist over the wards to be included. “This has prevented a solution to the problem,” said Brahmatola VDC assistant accountant Basanta Thapa, adding that such disputes also exist elsewhere in the district.

Meanwhile, locals have bemoaned the extreme politics in the restructuring of local bodies. “The restructuring should have happened keeping in view geographical factors and convenience of the locals, but now, political parties are vying to serve their own interests. This is regrettable,” said a local.

Dal Lama of Gumba, Bichhyan-1, lamented the long distance they had to travel to reach the office of the proposed village assembly. “It takes us one whole day just to reach the gaunpalika office. So how reasonable is it to restructure local bodies like this?” he asked.

According to the technical committee’s recommendation, Barhabisa, Brahmatola and Kuldevmandau are to be made into a municipal assembly, whereas Kanda, Dogadi, Jayabageshwori, Atichaur and Gudukhati could comprise a village assembly.

Similarly, Kailashmandau, Chhatara, Toli could make a village assembly, and present day Badimalika Municipality, Dahakot and Mankot could become Badimalika Municipality. A municipal assembly and two village assemblies have been proposed in the northern part of the district.