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Plan to systemise local body mechanism shelved

  Political parties squandering development budget on a whim with least activities seen

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

LALITPUR: The Ministry of Local Development plan to systemise the local body mechanism to make political parties more responsible towards using development budget has been shelved for about four months.

MoLD has been preparing to activate the controversial local body political mechanism for months. The proposal was tabled at the Cabinet about four months ago, according to MoLD.

There are about 3,770 village development committees and 99 municipals, including newly declared 41 municipalities in all the 75 district development committees across the country.

The local bodies have been running without elected representatives for about a decade. The representatives from political parties have been coordinating as the elected representatives with the government to formulate plans and distribute development budget allocated by the government.

“The ministry prepared a guideline to make the political mechanism more responsible and accountable while carrying out development activities and plans in the local bodies,” said Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, spokesperson for the MoLD. “However, it has been shelved for months,” he added.

The government allocates around Rs 40 billion for the local bodies annually. However, MoLD monitoring reports have frequently revealed that the development budget has been misused with the involvement of the political mechanism.

Earlier, then local development Urmila Aryal had made an attempt to restructure the local body political mechanism with the authority of elected representatives.

Aryal was planning to table the concept at the Cabinet, but it was aborted due to strong objection from the Nepali Congress.

NC and other political parties demanded that the concept be scrapped and instead had recommended that election in the local bodies be held as soon as possible.

Government officials, however, believe that chances of holding local body polls at the present situation were slim.

“It is high time that the local body mechanism is managed and made more accountable towards people,” said Thapaliya.

“If the mechanism is not properly managed, there chances of misuse of development funds in the local bodies will remain high,” he added.

Thapaliya underscored the need of transparency while spending development funds and maintain checks and balances to stop parties from squandering money from the government coffers.

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