PM seeks options to restructure local bodies

Kathmandu, August 31

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today met Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission chief Balananda Paudel in Baluwatar, discussed with him alternatives to settle disputes regarding restructuring of local bodies and instructed him to proceed with the task as per its mandate.

PM Dahal said he would also continue his efforts to forge consensus among political parties on the issue by mid-September. Dahal had urged Paudel to work keeping in mind that local bodies’ election would be held by mid-April, sources said.

Dahal asked Paudel whether the number of village councils and municipalities could be increased from 565 to address demands of the main opposition party, Nepali Congress, and some other parties, according to the commission’s member Sunil Ranjan Singh.

Paudel, however, told the PM that it would not be appropriate to increase the number, as more local bodies than the proposed number would not be economically viable and sustainable and would need larger staff and more economic resources to exercise their rights and duties.

Paudel told Dahal that the commission was mandated to increase the number only nominally.

The new local bodies will enjoy more powers than the existing ones, as per the new constitution.

They can handle municipal police, operation of FM radios, local taxation system, distribution of land ownership certificate and small drinking water and hydel projects as listed in the rights of local bodies in the new constitution.

PM Dahal also asked Paudel whether Ilakas could be transformed into local bodies.

There are 927 Ilakas and four to five VDCs make up one Ilaka. Paudel told the PM that if the parties wanted, they could amend the constitution and mention about transforming Ilakas into local bodies instead of restructuring the local bodies.

Three major parties are divided over the number of local bodies the NC has sought around 1,000 local bodies, while CPN-UML wants to have 565 local bodies as proposed by the commission. CPN-Maoist Centre is trying to strike a compromise between NC and UML on the number.

Meanwhile, the commission is preparing to extend the time allotted to district technical committees for sending their reports by one week to 15 days, according to Singh.

Only seven districts have submitted their reports so far. The committees were mandated to send their reports by today.

House panel’s instructions

KATHMANDU: A meeting of the Development Committee of the Legislature Parliament on Wednesday instructed the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to restructure local bodies at the earliest.

The panel also instructed Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to bring bills related to local bodies’ election at the earliest.

Stating that the implementation of constituency development programme was getting delayed in the absence of any regulation, the panel instructed MoFALD to bring the required regulation.