Kathmandu, February 11
The task force formed by the Cabinet to make suggestions on the report of Local Bodies Restructuring Commission will consult Madhesi lawmakers from districts of Province 2 from tomorrow.
The task force will end consultation with Madhesi lawmakers from eight districts of Madhes – from Saptari to Parsa – in three days, said Minister of Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Pandey, who is also the coordinator of the task force.
Another task force member and Minister of Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi said the task force was likely to point out violations by the LBRC of its terms of reference. “We are keeping in mind the fact that the local bodies should ensure people’s easy access to government services,” said Joshi.
He, however, said it would not be possible to rearrange the whole LBRC report.
Madhesi forces are protesting against the LBRC report, as it does not ensure the number of local bodies in proportion to the population of Madhes.
Another member of the task force and Minister of Supplies Deepak Bohara said revision of LBRC’s entire report before February 19 was impossible.
He said the task force would also look into the issues raised in hill districts of Nuwakot, Khotang and Bajhang.
He added that LBRC’s ToR stated that the constitutional body would draw the boundaries of local bodies on the basis of unanimous decision of local stakeholders.
If EC fails to get final LBRC report before February 19, it will not be able to hold civic polls this year
• Ila Sharma, Election Commissioner
If there is no unanimity, LBRC’s decision should be based on views expressed by majority of the public, Bohara added.
“LBRC can determine the boundaries as per its observation only if there is no majority decision in the respective districts,” he said. People of Nuwakot have accused LBRC of ignoring unanimous decision of the district.
“We’ll give suggestions to LBRC within the stipulated deadline of 15 days, so that it can do the needful before its tenure ends next month.”
LBRC Chair Balananda Sharma, however, said the commission would decide only after it received suggestions of the task force. ‘In the context of Province 2, we had already reported to the government about the situation,” he said, adding that LBRC had fixed the boundaries and number based on the views expressed by MPs of those districts.
The Election Commission has repeatedly said that it needs LBRC’s report to prepare for the local polls, as LBRC has recommended creation of 719 local bodies across the country.
Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said finalisation of LBRC report would give EC a chance to know the exact number of local bodies, their boundaries and electoral rolls required for each local body. She said if EC failed to get final LBRC report before February 19 it would not be able to hold civic polls this year.
A source at EC told THT that EC recently suggested that the government should hold civic polls in two phases — May 15 and June 4. “ Holding polls after May 28 will be unethical because the government will have to bring fiscal budget on May 28, which could affect the second round of polls if held on June 4,” the source said.
A version of this article appears in print on February 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.