Local bodies’ restructuring process enters final phase

Kathmandu, November 6

The Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission is preparing to give its final report within two weeks although Madhes-based parties have been obstructing the commission’s work in eight districts.

The commission’s report will include number, names, boundaries, service centres, areas and maps of local bodies across the country as per the new constitutional provision.

“Thirty-one districts have submitted their reports and almost all districts other than the eight districts of Province No 2 are preparing to submit their reports within three days. After we receive reports, we’ll compile them and prepare a final report. Out target is to prepare the report in less than two weeks,” said the commission’s spokesperson Hari Paudel.

The districts that have submitted their reports include Ilam, Khotang, Achham, Rasuwa, Jumla, Bajhang, Banke, Pyuthan, Sunsari, Dhankuta, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Chitwan, Kaski, Taplejung, Surkhet, Panchathar, Darchula, Myagdi, Doti, Dailekh, Kanchanpur, Ramechhap, Palpa, Bajura, Tanahun, Udayapur, Dadeldhura, Makawanpur, Okhaldhunga and Gorkha, said Paudel.

Authorities of the remaining districts have been asked to submit their reports at the earliest although the deadline to do so expired yesterday, Paudel said in a statement today. “Reports from districts that have not followed the given criteria or have submitted two reports will not be entertained.

“In such a condition, the commission will decide after holding consultations with technical committees and experts,” the statement adds.

Madhes-based parties and locals of eight Tarai districts – Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa – have been stating that they would agree to allow the restructuring of local bodies only if the issue of boundaries of federal provinces was settled at the central level.

The Madhes-based parties have been demanding two provinces in the Tarai since the Constituent Assembly promulgated the new constitution on 20 September 2015.

“The commission has faced problem while doing its job in the eight Tarai districts. Parties and people have threatened the commission’s teams, warning them against coming there until the issue of federal boundaries is settled at the central level.

Problems are being faced more in Bara, Rautahat, Mahottari and Sarlahi,” said commission’s member Sunil Ranjan Singh, who is also the commission’s coordinator in Province No 2.

Singh suggested two alternatives to settle the problem in Province No 2 – forging consensus by holding a meeting between the members of local technical committees and local leaders or forging consensus at the central political level. The commission is preparing to finalise its report within 10 to 15 days, he said.

The commission plans to have 507 to 744 local bodies, including village councils and municipalities.

The commission is mandated to determine the number, boundaries and economic potential of village councils, municipalities and special, protected and autonomous regions, as stated in Article 56 (5) of the new constitution, within one year of its formation.

After the commission submits its first report, it will begin work on determining special, autonomous and protected regions as mentioned in the new constitution and the commission will prepare the second report on the given issues by March 13.

The commission was formed on March 14 this year and its one year term will expire on 13 March 2017.