Criteria set for changing local government headquarters

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Oct 1, 2018-

Kathmandu will approve the proposal of fixing the headquarters of local federal units only when the concerned local government ensures that its core facilities are easily accessible by at least 60 percent of the local population.

In the Standard on Fixing the Centre of Rural Municipalities and Municipalities recently endorsed by the Cabinet, the centre of the municipality or the rural municipality should have facilities for drinking water, electricity and communication at least.

The place should be an easy approach from the provincial government office while the centre should be established at a location having non-arable land.

The place should be flat and without risk from natural disasters. The area should be outside the core city area, according to the standards.

According to the guidelines, an area of historical, social and cultural importance, which is safe from the security point of view and one which is acceptable politically and socially, should be chosen.

The federal government set the standards to prevent disputes that may arise when the local government headquarters are changed.

According to Clause 4 of the Local Level Operation Act-2017, the federal government fixes the name and the centre of local units in consultation with the provincial government. The law allows the federal government to set the criteria for both fixing and changing the headquarters of the local governments based on the area, infrastructure and other aspects.

The federal government has already approved changes in the headquarters and names of around 95 municipalities so far, according to Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.

But the ministry said the new norms were set for the municipalities and rural municipalities that want to set up new headquarters.

“The federal government will not approve the location which doesn’t meet these criteria,” said Pralhad Kumar Karki, under-secretary at the ministry. But the criteria endorsed by the Cabinet allow the concerned local governments to interpret the standards to suit local needs and potential.

Criteria have also been set for the minimum land area covered by the local headquarters. It says that the municipal headquarters should cover at least eight ropanis of land while that should be at least six ropanis for a rural municipality. The land for a ward office should measure at least three ropanis.

According to the Federal Affairs Ministry, there are disputes over the change of headquarters in about 20 local units. “Many cases have been registered at the High Court and Supreme Court too,” said Under-secretary Karki.

Some of local units having such disputes are Tilathi-Koiladi and Belhi-Chapena rural municipalities in Satpari district and Thuli-Bheri Municipality in Dolpa. In the Tilathi-Koiladi dispute, the Rajbiraj bench of the Janakpur High Court ordered in February not to change the centre from Tilathi to Koiladi, calling for a federal government decision on the matter. A case reached the Supreme Court in case of the federal government changing the Thuli-Bheri Municipality.

Published: 01-10-2018 07:33

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