DHANGADHI, May 16: Instead of turning their focus on development and other important tasks, local representatives in Province 7 have been prioritizing on getting more benefits for themselves.
Just recently on Sunday, three separate groups of newly elected 150 people's representatives at the local units separately submitted memorandum to Province 7 Chief Minister Trilochan Bhatta, demanding increase in their salary.
The groups said that salary benefits have been set only for chiefs, deputy chiefs and ward chairpersons while members have been discriminated against in this front. Stating that they too are elected by the locals, the groups of ward members made such demand in the letters.
A group from nine district coordination committees (DCC) and two groups from municipal wards were involved in making the demand.
“Every local representative should be treated equally. If the salary is set for a local representative, it should be done for all other local representatives too. Otherwise, salary should not be set for anyone,” said Suraya Bahadur Thapa, chief of Kailali DCC.
On the other hand, the move has also led to criticism from the civil society members. They warned that making politics an occupation could lead to other negative effects.
“In our country, if high salary is allocated for local representatives, the citizens have to bear the burden of heavy taxes. This will lead to dissatisfaction among the people,” said Dr Mukunda Kalauni, a professor of political science at Far West University. “The tax burden of the citizens can be reduced only by decreasing administrative expenses and salary as well as luxurious benefits of the local representatives.”
As federal structure is a very expensive form of democracy, Kalauni further added that imposing heavy tax to increase the benefits of the local representatives could lead to failure of the whole federal system.
In Province 7, a bill has been tabled proposing salary of all the local representatives at Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000. “If the bill is passed, all the local representatives and members of local units and district coordination committee could get a monthly salary in that proposed range. But the parliamentarians can reject the bill,” informed Balaram Sharam, secretary at the provincial parliament secretariat.
Professor Kalauni said the tabled bill is a big threat to the development of the province. “Politics is a social service and in that sense, it is very wrong to fight for salary and other benefits. As politics is a social service, it should not be turned into profession,” he said.