Service delivery affected as local units in Achham do not have office buildingsA majority of local government offices are operating from congested rented buildings.
It has been more than four years since the local level elections but many local units in Achham are still operating from congested rented rooms which has greatly affected service delivery.
Laxmi Saud, the vice-chairperson of Dhakari Rural Municipality, says the rural municipality does not have its own office building, in effect affecting all the administrative and judicial services it extends to the locals.
“We have to carry out all the work from a congested rented house. The judicial committee does not have space to set up a bench to settle disputes and provide legal consultations. Service delivery has been hugely affected in the local body due to the lack of spacious office buildings,” he said.
According to Saud, out of all the services affected by the lack of space, judicial service is the hardest hit.
“We need a separate hall or room to listen to the complaints of service seekers and conduct hearings. But we do not have a comfortable environment for people to talk about their problems,” said Saud, who is the coordinator of the judicial committee.
Of the total 10 local units in Achham, only Mangalsen Municipality, Sanfebagar Municipality and Mellekh Rural Municipality have their own office buildings. Seven other local units and a majority of their ward offices operate from congested rented buildings.
The local people complain that the people’s representatives have misplaced priorities and that they focus on purchasing more vehicles than required and constructing roads in places where not needed.
“They should rather focus on making service delivery easy. The people’s representatives should by now have built their own offices,” said Umesh Bista, a resident of Kamal Bazaar Municipality-3. “But providing better services to us is not their priority. They are busy spending time and money for their own benefit.”
Without permanent office buildings of their own, many ward offices face challenges finding suitable office space, especially in the rural areas.
The ward office of Panchadebal Binayak Municipality-1 has been providing services from a stone and mud house.
“It is difficult to seek any sort of service from the ward office. The people’s representatives should have constructed an office building rather than spending the budget on constructing unnecessary roads in the villages,” Jibana Regmi of Panchadebal Binayak Municipality-1 told the Post.
The people’s representatives admit that service delivery hasn’t been smooth for a lack of office buildings.
“We are unable to provide prompt services due to the lack of physical infrastructure. There is no space for people to even stand in the ward office,” said Laxmikant Devkota, the ward chairman of Panchadebal Binayak-1.
He says the local unit had initiated the construction of an office building but the construction work was halted due to protests from the local people who didn’t want the ward office to be established in their area.
“It is also the responsibility of the locals to help the people's representatives in their effort to make positive changes,” Devkota said.