EDITORIAL: Own it up

The report of the LBRC should be implemented and if necessary changes can be made to the report after the elections

The government’s refusal to endorse the report submitted by the Local Bodies Restructuring Commission (LBRC) is wrong.

The LBRC had been entrusted with the responsibility of determining the number and boundaries of the local bodies, and it had also been mandated to prepare a report on matters such as special, protected and autonomous region, structure of the public administration in the envisaged federal model as well as their economic sensibilities within March 13.

The LBRC was also required to determine the number, boundaries and economic councils, municipalities and special, protected and autonomous regions within a period of one year after it was formed as per Article 56 (5) of the new constitution.

The government had decided not to accept the report with the excuse that there was need for more consultations on it amongst the various political parties. The government should own up the report submitted by a commission it had formed with a specific mandate after it had prepared the report taking into account all possible dimensions of the subject and the views of experts, political parties, and others.

The report rejected by the Cabinet had been revised at the present government’s request after the commission had completed it but not yet submitted it. The number of local bodies determined by the commission originally was less than six hundred, and it has now been increased by about fifty percent at the government’s request.

The government again wants the commission to revise the report after it holds further consultations with political parties, particularly the Madhesi Morcha.

But it does not seem to have any solid reasons for rejecting it except trying to bend the report according to political expediency. This is worrying. However, experts are of the opinion that the changes could be made only after the holding of elections or revising its mandate to the commission.

But doing so would make the chances of holding the local polls in May even more remote, as the public impression is growing that the government may not muster the courage to hold the elections.

The disgruntled Madhesi parties stand accused of refusing to forge consensus and make their views clear to the LBRC despite being invited to provide their inputs. Now that the LBRC has completed its task it is a pity that the government has refused to endorse it.

After the submission of the report, the ball is in the government’s court as to what to do with the report, but it should not try to involve the commission again in making yet another revision.

The government is required to make a separate task force to identify areas of differences in the LBRC report if it insists on making the amendments. But this would make the holding of the local elections as envisaged by May impossible, which would be unfortunate for the country.

Furthermore, the LBRC officials say that they do not have the resources, time and additional capacity to revise the report. As the country has already decided to go federal there is no other option than to abide by the report of the LBRC for making changes would only further fuel dissent by bringing more complications.

Therefore, the report of the LBRC should be implemented and if necessary changes can be made to the report after the elections.

Remove the mess

The digging-up operations that have been going on in the Kathmandu Valley to lay the Melamchi drinking water pipe and undertake all ancillary activities on the roads have made its roads, already dusty and potholed, even worse.

All this, combined with the heavy dose of smoke hung in the air from the fume-belching vehicles that jam the valley’s roads, has made the atmosphere suffocating and harmful to health and the roads risky for both vehicles and humans.

This state has remained for quite a long time. Now, though belatedly, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has directed the authorities concerned to fill the potholes and use road broomer machines and clean the roads as soon as the pipe laying work is completed.

Indeed, in some places the installation is already complete, some of it one or two years ago, and at others the work is going on or is to be started soon.

Now there should not be any more delay in using the road sweeping machines on those roads where the pipe work is already done, as the people have already had enough of their share of dust and slush.