Hold local polls, House panel tells govt

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 29, 2016-

The parliamentary Development Committee has directed the government to hold, at the earliest, election of the local bodies that have been without people’s representatives since 2002.

In a session with Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa on Thursday, committee members expressed their concerns that citizens have been facing difficulties in accessing services from the local bodies in the absence of elected representatives while regular development works and post-earthquake reconstruction have been affected.

The committee also asked the government to decide within 30 days if it will hold the elections as per the transitional provisions or the normal condition of implementing the newly adopted constitution.

The last local elections--for VDCs, municipalities and District Development Committees--were held in 1997. After the local government’s term expired in 2002, civil servants have been heading the local offices under a regulation drafted in 1998 as a transitional measure.

In Thursday’s meeting, Development Committee Chairman Rabindra Adhikari said they would help the government remove the legal hurdles for holding the elections.

Lawmakers Ajay Shankar Nayak, Mohan Baniya, Baijanath Chaudhary, Lal Bahadur Gurung, Sita Giri, Santa Kumar Tharu, Janaki Saud and Prem Bahadur Ale pledged help to the government for holding the polls. The process is under way to amend the Local Self-governance Act-1999 and the local election working procedure.

Local bodies act as the government’s closest link to the citizens as per the new constitution which proposes restructuring the state into three levels--federal, provincial and local. Article 56 provisions Village Council, Municipal Council and District Assembly.

In its decision, the Development Committee has directed the government to start making necessary arrangements for the election immediately. The committee also directed the government to form a commission to determine the number and borders of Village and Municipal Councils as per Article 295. 

The constitution states that the commission “shall be formed within six months from the date of commencement of the constitution”. The new charter came into force four months ago.

Minister Thapa replied that preparations for the polls were ongoing and that the opposition parties would be consulted for the same.

Published: 29-01-2016 08:47

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