Dispute over the location of administrative centre in Junichande makes life hard for localsIt’s been almost three years since local governments were formed but Junichande residents say they haven’t felt the impact of local governance yet.
Day-to-day administrative, as well as development, work have been greatly affected due to the dispute over the administrative centre in Junichande Rural Municipality, Jajarkot.
When the country switched to federalism, most political parties and their local leaders rode on the populism of transfer of power from Singha Durbar, the country’s administrative centre, to the local bodies. It’s been three years since the local governments have been formed, but locals of Junichande say they haven’t felt the impact of local governance yet.
The villagers still have to travel to Khalanga, the district headquarters of Jajarkot, to receive government services. Khalanga is around 70km from Junichande. “During the local level election, our leaders had assured us of door-to-door to services to make life easier for us. Those days ‘Gaun Gaun Ma Singha Durbar’ (Singha Durbar in Every Village) was a popular slogan, but look at us now, we have to go to the district headquarters for even minor services, such as receiving a recommendation letter,” said Laxmi Shahi, a local of Junichande.
“The government services could be prompt and development activities might gain momentum if there are offices in the villages. But we are yet to see local governance take off,” said Shahi, stating that villagers have to spend around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 for one-time travel to Khalanga.
The bureaucratic hurdles in selecting the administrative centre in Junichande has put a lid on the development and day-to-day administrative works in the area. The federal government had declared Parale as the temporary administrative centre for Junichande but the assigned government employees could not assume their posts in Parale because of the dispute among the people’s representatives. The people’s representatives of Parale and Luhadaha are engrossed in a tug-of-war, hoping to make their local unit the administrative centre of the rural municipality. Therefore, the administrative office is currently operating out of the district headquarters, said Sarbadal Shahi, administrative officer of the rural municipality. “Although the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration asked us to move to Parale, the environment there is not welcoming,” said Shahi.
In Rukum (West) too, a lack of consensus among the people’s representatives over the administrative centre has the locals travelling frequently between the Tribeni Rural Municipality’s head office and its thematic offices.
Ramesh Pun, chief at Agriculture Section of the rural municipality, said Education, Youth and Sports, and Agriculture among other thematic offices are in Simratu. “Simratu is around seven kilometres from Kharanetar, Tribeni Rural Municipality Ward No. 3 office. Service seekers have to frequent two separate places to get one job done,” said Pun.
Jhakku Prasad Gharti Magar, chairman of the rural municipality, said they have been providing services from Kharanetar for the time being. “We are going to settle this dispute soon,” said Magar.
Hari Gautam contributed reporting.