Dipesh Shrestha/Republica Balananda Poudel (R), chief of Local Level Restructuring Commission handing the final report on local level restructuring to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa (L), in the presence of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the PM’s Office, Singhadurbar in Kathmandu on Monday.
DANG, March 14: Balbhadra Oli, the then Pradhanpancha (head of the village council during the Panchayat era) of Purandhara village of Dang district, faced two major challenges during his terms.
On the one hand, locals pressurized him for development, while on the other, he faced obstacles in the form of the autocratic attitude of the country's Panchyat government.
At that time, only those people having some access to the royal family would get developmental budget for their places. Those without such access always used to fall back in terms of development. “It was then when I envisioned local government for the local people,” said Oli.
Finally after years, his vision of the local level government has now been realized. With the implementation of the new local government structures, Oli hopes that the people's yearning for development could now materialize.
“The general public has wished for development for long. However, development will not take place in the villages until the local level governments are formed. Although the multi-party system rekindled the hopes of development following Panchayat's downfall, it could not address the rural people's hopes for development,” he said, “Now as the local level governments have got their shapes; people's hope for development has gone up.”
Locals of the district have high hopes and are excited as well as the concept of independent local level governments is being implemented finally. Locals of the village councils, municipalities, and sub-metropolitan cities alike have shown much excitement. Experts say their excitement is mostly connected with the hopes for development.
“The excitement will continue only if the local election takes place. Otherwise, the importance of and excitement over the local governments will slowly fade away,” said analyst Binod Pokhrel. “The local poll scheduled for May 14 is of utmost importance for the same reason.”
Likewise, experts also said that the political parties need to contemplate practicality and implementation aspects of the local government to meet the wishes of the general public.
“Development and facilities provided by the government so far have failed to satisfy the general public. That's why voices are being raised to bring the Panchayat system back,” said Liladhar Panthi, another expert. “The government should implement the new system in such a way that the people do not miss the Panchayat system,” he added.
“For years, the people have been raising their voices demanding access to services such as education, health, employment, among others. Then how can we say that the people's expectations have been met?” he questioned.
After the implementation of the new local level setup, the erstwhile four municipalities and 31 Village Development Committees in Dang district have been replaced by 10 local structures - two sub-metropolitan cities, one municipality and seven village councils.