‘Let local levels decide on wards’ boundaries’

Kathmandu, March 15

Lawmakers have objected to the provision of a bill that proposes to give the power to determine the numbers and boundaries of wards in rural municipalities and municipalities to the central government.

A bill related to determination of numbers and boundaries of wards in rural municipalities and municipalities proposes that the central government will have the power to determine wards’ boundaries.

Taking part in debate on the bill in the Parliament today, lawmakers accused the government of trying to curtail the rights of local levels given by the constitution.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Mahesh Acharya suggested giving to local levels the right as provisioned in the constitution.

CPN-UML lawmaker Rewati Raman Bhandari opined that clauses 3, 5 and 6 of the bill proposed to take rural municipalities and municipalities’ powers of determining the boundaries. “The Government of Nepal will determine the number of wards, their boundaries and ward offices in rural municipalities and municipalities,” Clause 3 of the bill states.

Likewise, Clause 5 provisions that the government can revise the numbers and boundaries of the wards. Clause 6 of the bill has given the right to revise the centre of wards to the central government. “Why should local governments with judicial, legislative and executive powers need to depend on the centre to determine their ward boundaries?” he wondered.

Bhandari also accused government for failing to understand the essence of federalism. Another UML lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel said the bill challenged the report of Local Bodies Restructuring Commission and even contradicted with the constitution.

NC lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada said the bill should be revised to correct errors in the LBRC report. “There should be a provision for determining the number and boundaries of wards and their offices by majority in the councils of the respective local levels.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party Chief Whip Prem Suwal opined that the previous local bodies should be recognised as local levels.

Lawmaker Shyam Kumar Shrestha said that the power to decide on disputed boundaries between two local levels should lie with the provincial government.

CPN-MC lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari said that the constitution had considered local levels as self-ruled local government because the country had a typical type of federalism which was not copied from any other country.

UDMF lawmakers walked out of the House saying the government had not moved ahead the constitution amendment bill and instead went ahead with preparations for local polls.