The federal government has issued the 'Tole Bikash Sanstha (Neighbourhood Development Organisation) Formation and Mobilisation Procedure-2021' with a view to ensuring maximum participation of citizens in the local development process.

The procedure aims to utilise the organisation as a supportive body of the concerned ward office by involving people of specified geographical area in the economic, social and cultural development of the neighbourhood. The procedure will come into effect after it is approved by the executive of the concerned municipality/rural municipality.

"The organisation shall be formed in each tole (neighbourhood) by incorporating all households into it through a mass gathering," it says. The working committee of each organisation shall consist of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, treasurer, secretary and, minimum three and maximum seven members as office-bearers on the basis of consensus or majority.

The chairperson or secretary or treasurer needs to be selected from among women.

The tenure of the work committee has been fixed for two years. As per the procedure, the organisation should be registered with the concerned ward office.

The functions, duties and powers of the organisation are to assist in maintaining law and order in the community; developing the culture of communal harmony, tolerance and sisterhood; formulating, implementing, supervising and monitoring development activities; managing traditional fairs and festivals; stopping public land encroachment; providing assistance in works such as disaster management, search, rescue, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation; helping to manage stray cattle; operating and managing public parks, public toilets and street lights; facilitating payment of tax and other service charges; assisting collection of data of unemployed persons; encouraging people to register personal events such as birth, marriage, migration, divorce and death; and facilitating the distribution of social security allowance.

Likewise, the organisation shall be responsible for assisting in control of electricity leakage and theft; carrying out market monitoring; creating awareness of rights and interests of consumers; expanding greener; encouraging people to comply with building standard; raising awareness against domestic violence, sexual harassment, human trafficking, child labour and other social anomalies; and ensuring maximum utilisation of resources for development of the neighbourhood.

The procedure requires the organisation to hold the meeting of its working committee at least once a month.

The organisation may receive income from the municipality/rural municipality, governmental and non-governmental organisations, community organisations and persons, and other legitimate sources.

"There will be a six-member coordination committee led by the ward chair to carry out monitoring of activities of the organisation and providing necessary feedback.

The rural municipality/ municipality may dissolve the working committee of the organisation on the recommendation of the concerned ward committee if it is found to be involved in financial irregularities and corruption," it reads.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 28 2021, of The Himalayan Times.