Lack of banks hits locals hard in far-western districts

Dhangadi, October 3

Lack of banks at local levels in the far-flung areas of Province 7 has severely affected service delivery. One has to walk for an entire day to reach district headquarters to deposit money in a bank or make payments for government services.

Most services, which were earlier only available in the district headquarters, are now also provided through the local levels. However, service seekers and employees at the local levels are compelled to visit the district headquarters to make or receive payment.

Most of the local levels outside the district headquarters in seven hilly districts of Province 7 are without banks. Even the hilly district of Kailali does not have any bank. Hence, local levels maintain their accounts in banks located in the headquarters.

The government had issued a directive to the banks to open their branches at all local levels three months ago, but to no avail. Banks are providing their services in only two out of nine local levels in Bajura. Only Badimalika Municipality and Budhinanda Municipality have banking facility in the district.

Of nine local levels in Doti, banking facility is available in one local body alone.

Local Shantidevi Kalel of Badikedar Rural Municipality in Doti complained that she had to walk all day to reach district headquarters financial transactions even involving small amounts.

Doti Sikhar Municipality-1 Ward Chair Khadak Bahadur Shahi said they were compelled to visit the headquarters for each and every financial transaction.

As many as six local levels have no banking facility in Darchula. Lack of banking service at the local levels has hit service seekers very hard.

Banks are yet to open in Darchula’s Lekam, Naugad, Duhu, Marma and Byash municipalities. Duhu Rural Municipality Chair Pulendra Bahadur Karki said they had to visit the district headquarters even for making small payments.

Baitadi has 10 local levels. However, only Dasarath Chand and Patan municipalities have banking facility.

Sigash Rural Municipality Chair Harisingh Dhami said that they were forced to walk for two days to reach the headquarters for making and receiving payments. “The rural municipality’s bank account is maintained at the district headquarters. We are compelled to walk to the district headquarters for each and every financial transaction,” Dhami bemoaned.

The situation is not different at local levels of nine districts, including Bajhang, Dadeldhura, Kailali, Kanchanpur. Of the 88 local bodies in Province 7, there is no banking facility in 50 levels.