Time to complete task not enough: LBRC

Kathmandu, March 2

The Local Bodies Restructuring Commission has sent a formal letter to the government informing that its remaining task might not be completed by the March 13 deadline.

LBRC chief Balananda Paudel said the commission had informed the government about the possibility of not being able to complete the assigned task by the stipulated deadline.

Paudel said LBRC could determine the number and boundaries of  special, protected and autonomous regions once it knew the exact number of local levels but since the government had not accepted the LBRC’s report, there was no way LBRC could work on special, protected and autonomous regions. “When we wrote a letter to the government informing it of our problem, the government did not give a go-ahead on the work related to special, protected and autonomous regions. As such, we have not been able to do any work. We only have 11 days and they are not enough to send the report to local areas for discussion with stakeholders,” Paudel added. He blamed the government for stalling the work of the commission.

Due to dilemma over increasing the number of local bodies in Province 2 to address the issues raised by agitating Madhesi parties, the government had not endorsed the LBRC report on local bodies.

“The government has sent us a two-line letter, stating that it would provide us with a copy once the report was endorsed,” said LBRC member Neeraj Shah.  He said the government did not respond to the commission’s concerns about the remaining tasks.

Shah said the commission had been working on special, protected and autonomous regions, structure of the public administration in the federal model and the economic viability of federal units on the basis of the report LBRC submitted to the government.

He said the commission members had been working on structure of local bodies they had proposed in the report submitted to the government despite knowing that the government would change it.

The commission had submitted its report on number and boundaries of the local bodies on January 6.

Meanwhile, the government task force led by Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hitraj Pandey today held a discussion with  lawmakers from Province 2 and proposed to increase the number of local bodies on the basis of Ilakas.

Lawmakers representing Province 2, however, insisted that the number of local bodies should be increased  in proportion to the province’s  population, said Secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development Kedar Bahadur Adhikari. He refused to disclose the number of local bodies likely in Province 2 but said the total number of local bodies would not exceed 744.

The LBRC had suggested 719 local bodies across the country.