Govt to create 744 local levels

Kathmandu, March 5

The government today decided to add 25 local levels to the number recommended by the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission of which 21 are in Province 2. With this, there will be 744 local levels across the country. In its original report, the LBRC had recommended creation of 719 local levels.

The government took the decision to increase the number of local levels after Federal Affairs and Local Development Minister Hitraj Pandey-led task force made its recommendations to the government on the report submitted by LBRC. The government had formed the task force to make recommendation on LBRC’s report after political forces, particularly the United Democratic Madhesi Front, opposed the report stating it did not ensure local levels in proportion to the population of Madhes.

Some political forces in hill districts also opposed LBRC’s report.  After a Cabinet meeting today, Federal Affairs and Local Development Minister Pandey said the government decided to add two municipalities in Kathmandu (Sankharapur and Dakshinkali) and one local level each in Bajhang and Manang districts.

Minister Pandey added that the government would publish LBRC’s report in the gazette and hand it over to the Election Commission.

“The government has also decided that the number of local levels can be increased again on the basis of political consensus,” he added.

According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the government decided to accept the recommendation made by the technical committee of Nuwakot district. In Khotang, the government, however, decided to accept LBRC’s recommendation. The government decided to make Kanda VDC a separate local level.  Minister Pandey said the government had issued instructions to government employees not to take part in strikes or create obstruction in election works.

Co-chair of Sadbhawana Party Laxman Lal Karna told THT that the agitating Madhesi parties would accept the government’s decision only if it ensured the number of local levels in proportion to the population of Madhes region, which is home to more than 50 per cent population.   “The issue of local levels is linked to representation of people,” he said, adding, “Increasing the number of local levels is not a discretionary power of the government.”

Among the total 719 local levels that LBRC had recommended, there were 256 local levels (35 per cent) in 20 districts of Madhes.

LBRC, however, is yet to determine names and boundaries of special, protected and autonomous regions.