KATHMANDU, Jan 27: The search for work stations required for those who will operate the new provincial setups, including offices for governors and provincial ministers and assemblies, has been speeded up at all seven temporary province capitals.
Officials at national and sub-national levels, who are hard at work since last week, have not yet been able to find the space for nearly a dozen new offices required in each province.
With 550 provincial assembly members in all, Nepal now has seven provincial governments apart from the central and local governments. Even as the government announced the capitals of the seven provinces on January 17, it was already struggling to arrange offices for the various provincial bodies.
Each provincial government will comprise nearly a dozen offices, including a hall for the provincial assembly, offices for the chief minister and provincial council of ministers, and secretariats for each party, among others.
As soon as the government announced Biratnagar as the provincial capital of Province 1, the Buildings Division Office (BDO) Biratnagar expedited its search for suitable buildings for the newly appointed governors and leaders of the provincial assembly. Officials, however, remain clueless where to set up such offices. It has been difficult to finalize the choice of buildings among the several recommended.
In Province 2, officials have settled for conducting the first meeting of the provincial assembly at the Educational Training Center (ETC) of Janakpur, the temporary capital of the province. The government plans to develop the hall at the now defunct Janakpur Cigarette Factory as a temporary venue for the provincial assembly.
Dilip Kumar Chapagain, chief district officer of Dhanusha, informed that as per the current recommendations, almost all the offices of the provincial assembly might have to share a common compound. They are yet to decide the final office arrangements.
Officials in Province 3 are also in a hectic search for proper buildings and trying to manage the other facilities for the provincial government in Hetauda. A team of regional and district office chiefs is exploring buildings for housing the provincial assembly and its secretariat, but in vain so far.
“As of now, we have finalized a building for the provincial assembly and are now searching for another building for the office of the governor,” said Chakra Bahadur Budha, chief district officer of Makawanpur. Technicians and engineers have been deployed to examine whether the buildings are safe and have all the required infrastructure, according to CDO Budha.
Similarly, government officials have been working day and night to find work stations for provincial assembly members who recently assumed office in Province 4. The government has named Pokhara the temporary headquarters of the province. According to Taranath Adhikari, CDO of Kaski, the under-construction Skill Development Center building has been finalized for the offices of the chief minister and finance and home ministries.
According to Suresh Thakur, chief of Buildings Division Office Rupandehi, the regional administration is seeking alternative sites for provincial government offices as the places recommended earlier are sensitive in terms of security, lack infrastructure and are also topographically difficult. “We will prioritize new buildings which fulfill all the criteria required,” he said.
A search among almost two dozen government buildings for the provincial assembly has been speeded up in Birendranagar of Surkhet, temporary headquarters of Province 6. As of now, the ETC building will house the provincial assembly and the offices of the speaker, the assembly secretariat and the provincial council of ministers as well as official residences. The Regional Forest Training Center will be used for the office of the provincial governor. The search for a residence for the governor and an office for the province chief secretary is still underway.
Meanwhile, in Dhangadhi, the temporary capital of Province 7, the offices of the chief minister, the provincial council of ministers and the speaker were finalized Thursday. Preparations are underway to evacuate these buildings and rearrange them as per the criteria for the provincial government.