Process to hike local level numbers halted

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 4, 2017-With candidate nomination for the first phase of local federal units over, the government has halted the process, at least until the May 14 polls, of increasing the number of the newly restructured bodies as demanded by the Madhes-based parties, Law Minister Ajay Shankar Nayak has said.

The government says that its entire focus is now on successful holding of the first phase of polling.

Following an agreement with the Madhesi parties on April 22, the coalition of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) had decided to increase the number of local bodies in the Tarai districts. A committee led by the erstwhile deputy prime minister and minister for federal affairs and local development Kamal Thapa was formed to set criteria for the increment.

The committee had directed the District Technical Committees led by the local development officer to recommend the new local units taking a minimum population of 22,000 for a village council and 31,000 for a municipality. Previously, the population size for delineating a village council was 40,000 and 60,000 for a municipality in the plains.

However, the main opposition CPN-UML obstructed Parliament opposing the directives, compelling the government to roll back its decision to increase the numbers in 11 districts. 

The future of the committee has become uncertain with the resignation of Thapa from the Cabinet on Monday.

Increasing the number of local units in proportion to the size of population is a major demand of the parties opposed to several provisions of the constitution passed 

in 2015. However, as the Upendra Yadav-led Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, a key dissident party, is already in the election process without its demand being fulfilled, the government is not under much pressure to address the concerns urgently.

The government earlier created 21 new local units in the eight districts of Province 2. The Local Level Restructuring Commission had recommended 719 local units, which increased to 744 after the new additions, four elsewhere.

Published: 04-05-2017 08:16

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