Valley

Eight months into the fiscal year, local governments have yet to present budget

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Mar 24, 2019-

Less than four months before the end of the fiscal year, Bhagwanpur Rural Municipality in Siraha is yet to present its annual budget for the current fiscal due to the differences between the local political parties.

While the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal are partners at the Centre, differences between them at the local level have resulted in the rural municipality failing to present its budget.

As a result, development activities have been halted while staff at the rural municipality had to wait for six months to get the salary of the first month of the year.

“I sought facilitation from the Federal Affairs Ministry, the Chief District Officer and the District Coordination Committee to ensure that government employees are paid even if the budget is not passed. With their help, the employees were given their dues of the six months at once in January and they have been getting salary regularly since,” Dipendra Kumar Yadav, chief administrative officer in Bhagwanpur, told the Post.

Chairman Bechan Prasad Yadav does not have a majority in the rural municipality and has long been complaining about non-cooperation from elected representatives of the NCP, the ruling party at the Centre which has a majority in the local assembly.

Of  the five wards, the NCP has officials in wards 2, 4 and 5 in the local elections held in 2017 and the chairman cannot take a decision on his own.

Chairman Yadav had called a meeting of the village assembly on January 14 this year. But, according to chief administrative officer Yadav, ward chairs representing the NCP didn’t present programmes from their wards, leading to the failure to present the budget. For the second year in a row, presentation of the budget has been delayed due to political differences, according to officials at the rural municipality. “One of the contentious issues that engulfed the two sides is who should chair the Village Education Committee. “The local representatives associated with the NCP sought the role for their party while the chairman refused to entertain the idea arguing that he is entitled to head the committee,” said Chief Administrative Officer Yadav.  

This is an example of how works at the local governments are being affected due to political differences between the parties.

According to  the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, there are more than a dozen local governments which have failed to present the budget so far, mostly due to political differences. All such local governments are in Province 2, according to the ministry.

Katahariya Rural Municipality of Rautahat is another political unit failing to present the budget until now. Its mayor Siyaram Kushwaha, who was sentenced to life on a murder charge by the Birgunj-based Janakpur High in March last year, was released in December at the Supreme

Court’s order.

Even after his release, the rural municipality is yet to present its budget.

“During his time in jail, he continued to instruct officials at the rural municipality not to do anything until his release. So the budget could not be introduced initially,” said a source at the rural municipality.

Kushwaha, who was elected as chairman from the local elections on the Maoist ticket, was charged with murdering Kashi Nath Tiwari, the founder of Hindu Yuwa Sangh, in Birgunj in 2010.

In some local governments, works have been affected by infighting between the chief and the deputy chief.

Sita Kumari, vice-chairperson of Aurahi Rural Municipality in Siraha, complains about her diminished role at the federal unit.

Kumari, who was elected for the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, said she has been denied authority to sign any documents related to budget. “I don’t know how the budget is being allocated,” she  told the Post. Chairman Siddhartha Yadav was elected from the Maoist Centre, which later merged with the CPN-UML to form the NCP.

Published: 24-03-2019 08:21

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