LBRC at odds with MoFALD over data

Kathmandu, October 15

The Local Bodies Restructuring Commission is at odds with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development over data of ilakas (areas).

The LBRC had written a third letter to MoFALD yesterday seeking details of the ilakas, particularly of their area, population and information on economic resources.

LBRC Chair Balananda Paudel said the constitutional body had not received the required data from the ministry. “We are saddened by the non-cooperation of the ministry. It’s only that we did not tell anybody about this problem before,” he said.

Paudel said the LBRC wanted data on population, area and economic resources of the ilakas because the revised terms of reference for the LBRC stated that ilakas should also be one of the main criteria for restructuring local bodies.

The LBRC has been mandated to determine the number and boundaries of local bodies. “Unless we have data on the ilakas, we cannot do the assigned job because the information we have sought from the ministry will help create viable local bodies,” Paudel said, adding that the commission also wanted to know on what grounds the ilakas were created and what kind of taxes could be levied in those areas.

Paudel said MoFALD had sent a book that contained information only on the number of village development committees and wards of municipalities in the areas.

He said the commission had collected disaggregated data on its own and if it were to collect other disaggregated data on ilakas, it would take time.

Paudel said though the government wanted it to submit its report in one month’s time, the LBRC could not commit the same to the government.

“It all depends when we will have the required data in our hands. Earlier, we had to almost halt work when we were just

about to finish our assigned job,” Paudel added.

Paudel also said that the government and political parties must cooperate with the LBRC to enable it to do the job.

The LBRC has a deadline till mid-March, but the government wants it to submit the report quickly so that it can hold local polls by mid-April.

Secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, however,  said his ministry had provided data on population and areas of the erstwhile ilakas but it did not have data on economic  resources of those ilakas. “We do

not have data on economic resources of ilakas because they functioned as political units, not administrative ones,” Adhikari said, adding that LBRC could find the data on its own.

“Wards are also not administrative units, yet the LBRC collected data related to wards. It can collect data on ilakas in the same manner,” Adhikari said, adding that MoFALD was ready to provide the commission staff and infrastructure to make its work easy.