KATHMANDU, Jan 7: After much dilly-dallying, the government has finally received the report of the commission formed to restructure local units under the federal system. The commission has proposed altogether 719 local units across the country.
Amid a function at the office of the prime minister and council of ministers on Friday, Chairman of the commission Balananda Poudel handed over the final report to the government in the presence of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. On behalf of the government, Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Hit Raj Pandey received the report. In its report, the commission has fixed 462 village councils, 241municipalities, 12 sub-metropolitan cities and 4 metropolitan cities under the new federal system.
The handover of the final report to the government by the commission has now paved the way for holding local polls under the new federal setup.
The commission handed over a 1718-page report, which is in 16 volumes, to the government with details about the total number of wards, village councils, municipalities, sub-metropolitan cities and metropolitan cities in each of the 75 districts. Similarly, the commission has also fixed the center of each of the local units created under the new federal system. However, Sunil Ranjan Singh, a member of the commission, has written a note of dissent over some of the recommendations made by the commission to the government in its final report.
He has written a note of dissent against not fixing village councils and municipalities entirely on the basis of the total population in Madhesi and Tharuhat areas.
Speaking after Chairman Poudel handed over the report to the government, Prime Minister Dahal said that the government decided to receive the final report of the commission after the government reached certain level of political understanding among the ruling, opposition as well as agitating Madhesi-based parties.
“The report is a milestone in the process of implementing the new constitution. We have received the report only after taking both the opposition and agitating parties into confidence,” he added.
The prime minister also said that the government had to delay receiving the final report as the government was trying to forge consent of all political parties on ownership of the report.
“As the commission was formed based on a political understanding in the past, I decided to hold talks among party leaderships before receiving the report. There was some delay receiving the report as it would be easy to implement the report by creating a favorable political environment,” the prime minister said.
He said that he is hopeful that the parliament will resume following the Supreme Court's order on a writ petition related to constitution amendment. “Though we are a bit late, I hope we can develop a political consensus and announce election dates soon,” he added.
Prime Minister Dahal has directed Minister for Local Development Pandey and Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi to jointly study the reports in detail and recommend ways to implement it.
“We will develop a plan for implementing the report only after studying it. Once the plan is developed, the government will take necessary steps to implement the proposed new local units and announce election dates. But again, announcing the election dates is also determined by the political environment,” Subedi said.
Though the commission has fixed the numbers and boundaries of the village councils and municipalities in its report, it has yet to fix special, protected or autonomous areas. Officials of the commission said that the commission will determine special, protected or autonomous areas before mid-March, 2017, the deadline when the tenure of the commission expires.
“As the local units created under the federal system are to be designated as the special, protected or autonomous areas, the report we have submitted today is enough for the government to hold polls.
We will complete the remaining tasks soon,” Chairman of the commission Poudel said.