Govt declares 26 new municipalities

- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu
Chairman of Municipal Association Nepal says the new cities face challenges alongside opportunities

Sep 19, 2015-The government on Friday created 26 new municipalities and one sub-metropolitan city in the country in what officials say will help in planned urbanisation and development in those areas.

Dhangadhi became the first sub-metropolitan city in the Far-West after government upgraded it from municipality status and incorporated Fulbari and Urma VDCs. Local residents have welcomed the decision and believe this would open doors for development.

The 11th Municipal Council meeting of Dhangadhi had decided to fulfil all prerequisites for becoming a sub-metro. Last July, the former municipality and district-level political mechanism had endorsed the proposal for forming a sub-metro. Kailali District Administration Office had in turn endorsed the proposal and forwarded it to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development.

Similarly, other municipalities declared by the government are Gauradaha in Jhapa district, Laligurans in Tehrathum district, Hanumannagar Yoginimai in Saptari district, Sukhipur and Dhangadhimai in Siraha district, Bajrabarahi in Lalitpur, Kalika and Rapti in Chitwan, Barahathawa in Sarlahi, Bhanu and Abukhaireni in Tanahu, Madhyabindu in Nawalparasi and Bhrikuti in Kapilbastu. In addition, Bhirkot in Syangja district, Rainas, Karaputar and Madhya Nepal in Lamjung, Bherimalika in Jajarkot, Chaurjahari in Rukum, Bagchaur in Salyan, Subhaghat Gangamala in Surkhet, Kamalbajar in Achham, Beldandi, Bedkot and Krishnapur in Kanchanpur and Babai in Bardia have also been declared municipalities.

“The government declared new municipalities after these areas fulfilled requirements of population, income and market places,” Municipality and Environment Management Division chief at MoFALD Gopi Krishna Khanal said. “It will ease development activities and implementation of laws like building codes,” he added.

In December last year, the government had formed a technical committee to study the status of 28 possible municipalities. Apart from Galyang in Syangja and Bhimad in Tanahu, the remaining 26 were found to meet all criteria. An administrative area is declared a municipality if it has a population of 20,000 in Tarai, or 10,000 in hills and mountains, and can generate a minimum annual income of Rs500,000, among others. With the recent decision, the total number of municipalities in the country has reached 217. In May last year, the government had added 72 new municipalities and 61 in December after a break of 18 years. Before that, Baglung was the last declared municipality in 1996.

Chairman of Municipal Association of Nepal Dormani Poudel said there are challenges alongside opportunities in the new municipalities. “Residents of a municipality have a higher expectation,” he said. However, Poudel welcomed the decision saying that the country needs to move up from rural context. Decision making is more efficient in municipalities than in VDCs, while citizens

are entitled to more services, he added.

Meanwhile, with Friday’s decision, there are now more municipalities in Kanchanpur district than VDCs. Along with the three new municipalities formed by incorporating five VDCs, there are a total of eight municipalities in the district while there are only four VDCs.

Elsewhere, in Tehrathum, people in Basantapur and nearby areas celebrated the government decision after their area was declared Laligurans municipality. Locals said their city will now benefit from more budget allocated from the centre and  wave of infrastructure development.

(With inputs from local correspondents)

Published: 19-09-2015 12:05

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