LBRC Terms of Reference to be revised

Kathmandu, October 3

The three major political parties — the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre — have clarified to the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission that they had no intention to infringe upon its jurisdiction.

LBRC Chief Balananda Paudel was given assurance to this effect by the top leaders of the three parties at a meeting held in Singha Durbar.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of LBRC’s dissatisfaction with the government’s recent decision to amend the terms of reference for the commission. Prime Minister and CPN-MC Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML Vice-chair Bhim Rawal and Minister of Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Pandey were present in the meeting.

LBRC Chair Paudel told leaders that LBRC was a constitutional body formed to determine the number and boundaries of the local bodies and if the government dictated terms to the body, it would not be able to carry out its work,” Paudel added. He said he told the leaders that LBRC could accept Ilakas as a reference point for the commission while determining boundaries of the local bodies to which the leaders agreed.

“As per today’s understanding, the government will amend its revised ToR,” Paudel added. He said the government wanted LBRC to submit its report by mid-November but he told them that he would have to discuss the issues with other office  bearers before committing on the deadline for submission of the report.

LBRC member Neeraj Shah told THT that the commission would not be able to submit its report before mid-November, as government employees would be on vacation due to the festival season.

Earlier, LBRC was asked to submit the report before mid-October. According to LBRC member Sunil Ranjan Singh, Paudel later told LBRC members that major parties’ leaders told him they had no intention of interfering with the autonomy of the commission.   “Paudel told us that the government has agreed to change the contents of the revised ToR. As per today’s understanding, LBRC will not be asked to keep intact boundaries of the municipalities,” Singh said. The government had also told LBRC to create over 927 local bodies - equal to the number and size of Ilakas created in 1983.  Singh said the three major parties also assured LBRC that the government would take another decision to revise the ToR, wherein it would request LBRC to treat Ilakas merely as reference points.

“Singh said if the government did not take another decision about the ToR as per today’s understanding, then he would move the court.” The Supreme Court had refused to register a writ petition that Singh wanted to file against the government’s decision a few days ago. Singh had said that he would file another petition against SC Registrar’s refusal order.

Minister Pandey told THT that the main purpose of the meeting was to clear doubts of LBRC regarding the revised ToR. Pandey said the three parties told LBRC to treat Ilakas as the main criteria while creating local bodies, but that did not mean that the commission should create the number of local bodies equal to the number of Ilakas.