Local body restructuring: Lawmakers find fault with LBRC’s workLawmakers have objected to the Local Body Restructuring Commission (LBRC)’s proposal to carve out 565 local units across the country as part of the local body restructuring, saying that the LBRC’s work is unscientific and out of place.
Lawmakers have objected to the Local Body Restructuring Commission (LBRC)’s proposal to carve out 565 local units across the country as part of the local body restructuring, saying that the LBRC’s work is unscientific and out of place.
Addressing a meeting of the Legislature-Parliament on Wednesday, lawmakers from different parties said that the number of local units at 565 is too small, which will create problems for the general public when it comes to accessing state facilities and government services. Some lawmakers even demanded that the LBRC be dissolved, as it was “making unscientific recommendations without seeking suggestions from local bodies”.
The LBRC was formed in March to determine number and borders of village councils, municipal councils and special, protected or autonomous regions.
The LBRC led by former Secretary Balananda Poudel in July had proposed 565 local units, making administrative divisions based on population size. The set criteria shows a village council needs to have 15,000 people in the mountain region while the number has to be at least 50,000 in the Tarai region. Similarly, a municipal council in hills needs 35,000 people while the requirement for the Tarai region is 75,000.
“This recommendation is quite out of place. The government should dissolve the commission and prepare for the elections of the existing local bodies,” said Nepali Congress lawmaker Jiban Bahadur Shahi. He also called on experts to study the local bodies in Switzerland, which he said would be the best model for Nepal.
“Switzerland, which is three times smaller than Nepal, has 2,740 units. So the number of local bodies in Nepal needs to have at least 7,500 local units,” he argued.
Currently, there are 217 municipalities and 3,157 village development committees, making the number of local units 3,374.
The LBRC proposal will mean the downsizing the number of local bodies by almost six times.
The lawmakers said the main objective of federalism should be facilitating state facilities and government services to the local people. “Hence the current restructuring process is against the spirit of federalism,” they argued.
Prem Suwal of Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party said that the commission should hold extensive discussions with local people before fixing the number of local bodies. “If the process takes time, the government should move ahead with the elections of existing local bodies,” he said.
The agitating regional parties have also been objecting to the commission’s work.
The new government has said it will hold the local body elections in March.
The LBRC has till March to submit its report.