Local bodies’ restructuring report to be delayed

Kathmandu, October 4

The Local Bodies Restructuring Commission today said it would be unable to meet the deadline set by the government for submitting its report, as the new mandate given by the government recently meant it had to revise what it did earlier.

The government wanted the report by mid-November, but the commission is unlikely to accomplish its task by then, as it has to work from beginning under the given mandate of determining local bodies on the basis of Ilakas, said LBRC Chairman Balananda Paudel at a press meet today.

Three to four VDCs comprise an Ilaka and 927 Ilakas were in place earlier. But with the expansion of the municipalities and sub-metropolitans, the number of Ilakas has been reduced. “It wouldn’t be possible to meet the deadline, as the government employees would be on vacation due to the festive season,” he said.

The commission also expressed its dissatisfaction with its new mandate.

“Due to the change in mandate of the commission, we have to start our work from the beginning. It’s not fair to change the terms of reference at the eleventh hour,” Paudel said.

According to him, the expert panel was in the final stage of submitting the report to the government regarding the restructuring of local bodies as mandated by the constitution.

He also implied that a change in its mandate at the last hour might affect the prospective election of local bodies.

“We were ready to submit the report by mid-October,” he said.

Apart from geography, population, social structure and economic viability, Ilakas will also be included in the reference while restructuring local bodies, Paudel said.

He said the commission’s work progress would depend on how much help the political parties and the government offered to it.

Earlier, the government consulted the major parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, and CPN Maoist Centre — and decided to restructure local bodies, keeping in view the existing Ilakas.

Following the decision, the commission was given a new mandate.

Meanwhile, Chairman Paudel also expressed dissatisfaction with the transfer of Local Development Officers, as it will also seriously hamper the commission’s work.

“We have requested the government not to transfer LDOs, as they are a critical part of our task,” he added.