22 local units likely to be added in Provinces 2 and 5

  • Government, however, wants Morcha’s nod first to take the plan ahead
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 16, 2017-A government panel formed to work on number of local units in the Tarai districts is planning to add around two dozen village or municipal council in Province 2 and Province 5.

The Cabinet on April 10 had formed a three-member committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa to recommend a solution to the ongoing problem related to the number of local units in the two provinces. 

Number of local units across the country has been fixed at 744—25 were added to the earlier recommended number of 719—and elections there are scheduled for May 14.

The panel was formed in a bid to address the concerns of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, which has refused to participate in local level elections saying the number of local units along the plains should be increased in proportion to the population size.

According to Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak, who is also a member of the committee, a broad outline has been drawn up with an aim to add around 22 local units in 11 districts of Province 2 and Province 5.

“But until the Morcha shows readiness to agree to our recommendation, there is no point adding local units in the said provinces. We have sought suggestions from Morcha leaders, but we are yet to receive any word from them,” he said. 

But the Morcha leaders claimed that the government had not approached them for suggestions. 

“I have no knowledge about the government panel approaching us,” said Laxman Lal Karna, co-chair of the Sadbhawana Party. “Our position is clear. The number of local units should be allocated on the basis of population size.”

The Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC) on January 6 had submitted its report to the government, recommending 719 local units. But after the Madhes-based parties objected to the LLRC recommendations, the government in February formed a ministerial taskforce to review and revise the report. The taskforce had recommended adding 25 more units—21 in eight districts of Province 2, two in Kathmandu and one each in Manang and Bajhang districts-taking the number of local units across the country to 744, the ceiling set by the LLRC. 

The Morcha has been demanding 51 percent local bodies in 20 districts in the Tarai/Madhes region. Out of 744 local bodies, 257 (32 percent) are along the southern belt. If 22 more units are added, the total number of local units will be 766 with 36.4 percent (279) in the 20 districts in the Tarai region. 

Published: 16-04-2017 07:59

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