KATHMANDU, Sept 27: The government has decided to make the pervious area units (ilakas) as the main basis for restructuring the local units under the new federal setup. As per the criteria, there will be around 900 local units whereas the commission formed to fix the number and boundaries of local units had earlier proposed 565 units.
A cabinet meeting held at Singha Durbar on Tuesday decided to ask the commission to delineate local units under the federal set up taking ilakas as the main basis.
This decision was taken as per an understanding reached among the three major political parties on Sunday, informed Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak. He said that the cabinet meeting has decided to give a three-point terms of reference to the commission as guideline for carrying out the reconstructing task of the local units in line with the federal system.
“The meeting has decided to ask the commission to keep the existing municipalities within the ilakas intact so that the VDCs within the ilakas can later be added to the municipalities if needed. Likewise, the meeting also decided to ask the commission to give priority to convenience and accessibility while delineating local units,” Minister Lekhak said. Each ilaka comprises four to five VDCs, making over 900 ilakas in the country.
The government took the decision even though the Madhes-based political parties, opposition Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), and the commission itself have strongly objected to the idea of taking ilakas as the main basis for restructuring the local units.
Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party lawmaker Jungi Lal Raya, speaking in parliament on Tuesday, said that his party and other agitating Madhesi parties are against the idea of making ilakas as the main basis.
“The ilakas were formed 25 years ago and the population in Tarai has increased significantly. So, turning ilakas into new local units is irrelevant,” he added.
Also, RPP-N lawmaker Dila Nath Giri said that the three main parties are trying to interfere in the independent jurisdiction of the constitutional commission by forcing the commission to implement their agreement.
“The main three parties decided to make ilaka the basis for restructuring local bodies without consulting with other political parties and the commission. So, the commission should not abide by the agreement,” he said.
Members of the commission have also been saying that the government and the political parties have been trying to interfere with the independence of the commission by directing the commission to fix the local bodies as per their proposal.
Sunil Ranjan Singh, a member of the commission, said that it will be unacceptable to the commission if the government has decided to give a new terms of reference (ToR) based on the political understanding.
“The commission will hold a meeting Wednesday and decide on whether to work as per the new cabinet decision or go as per the commission’s own plan,” he said, adding, the commission will have to begin its work afresh if ilaka is made the main basis and it will not be able to submit report even by mid-March, 2017, the final deadline of the commission.
Officials of the commission have been saying that increasing the number of local bodies beyond what has been proposed by the commission would not be economically viable.
Meanwhile, the cabinet has decided to form a five-member investigation committee led by former IGP Kuber Rana to investigate into road accident of former Home Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire and Tuesday’s Dhading road accident. Former Minister Ghimire and his two brothers are missing since Sunday while as many as 19 people lost their lives in Dhading road accident on Tuesday.