Dispute related to jurisdiction over local resources causes confusion

Pokhara, May 29

One year after local representatives assumed office, lack of necessary law and jurisdiction-related confusion over local resources continue to bog down the performance of local levels in Province 4.

Although after implementation of federalism, locals can now get a lot of services at their doorstep, such as social allowances, recommendations and registration of vital events, there are a number of roadblocks.

“Some good things have happened ever since the elected local representatives assumed office. People now no longer have to make the long haul to the district headquarters to get minor works done and development activities are happening under proper scrutiny and observation,” said Shekhar Parajuli, a researcher affiliated with the Democracy Resource Centre, making public the report of a study about performance of local bodies over a year’s time.

The report was prepared by collecting locals’ reviews from some 90 local bodies in 43 selected districts.

The study cites disputes in the name of local levels, their boundaries and centres in a number of places, which were apparently caused by rash decisions. Similarly, lack of laws has been a major issue that has hampered the performance of the local bodies. “In a number of cases, the local levels have made the laws needed, by spending the entire year, but still as those involved in codifying the laws were not experts, those laws made lack clarity at many points,” said Parajuli.

Another factor that has bogged down the performance of local levels is lack of clarity over the jurisdiction of local resources such as rivers, forests and tourism sites. “In many cases, conflicts have already arisen between the local bodies and the provincial government about the issue of jurisdiction over local resources,” Parajuli said.

Speaking at the event, former chair of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Anandaraj Mulmi described the performance as optimistic, while provincial assembly member Prabha Koirala suspected conspiracies were being hatched against federalism. While Madi Rural Municipality Chair Bed Bahadur Gurung conceded that they had failed to meet the people’s expectation, Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality Vice-chairperson Krishna Kumari Dawadi complained about lack of experts at the local levels.