The Constituent Assembly, which had been the hope of the people for giving a new all-inclusive democratic constitution, died a natural death before it could fulfil the all-important historic task. Despite Nepal becoming a republic, the remnants of the feudal society still lingers on. The infamous panchayat system harped a bit too much on decentralisation, but had excessive centralisation close to heart and for all practical purposes. Decentralisation as a buzzword continued even after the return of the multi-party democracy in 1990 and the end of
the monarchy post-2006. To bank on decentralisation and derive the benefits, the first and foremost need is the local governance through the local-level elected bodies. It is almost ten years since the local level bodies have seen an election. It is the civil
servants who are manning the VDCs, DDCs and the municipalities. Sans elected officials, the local level bodies are functioning with the help of all-party mechanisms, which are more inclined to reap profits rather than serve the people through all-round local development activities. The DDCs and municipalities have been oft-reported to be involved in fishy deals—scams abound in whatever they undertake. This is because those who run the local bodies do not feel in any way accountable to the people as they had not been elected by them, and they do not have to face any election.
The biggest tool of a democratic set up are local elections which the country has not seen in a decade. The decentralisation aspect is nowhere visible. The country has only a centralised system functioning with those at the centre calling the shots. That has all those who matter in politics jostling in the capital. Rules and regulations and projects are formulated in Kathmandu to be implemented at the local level, which show the ruthless nature of the central administration. That may be the reason, coupled up with corruption, why the local development activities are at their lowest ebb. This situation is not in the interest of the local people—they want elected representatives who will work for the people. In this context, grounds ought to be prepared for local elections, which can be held even if the new constitution that has provisions for federating the country is yet to be drafted. It is a wonder that the political leaders talk of either reinstating the dissolved CA or holding an election for another CA, but they have forgotten that the local governance units have to be in place to work for the political, social and economic welfare of the people.
It is only a few political parties sitting at the centre that think that they can rule the country, and they have given no thoughts about local level elections. It is a political exercise that can work wonders for the local people. But, there is suspicion that the political parties are in a conspiracy not to hold the local elections for keeping their centralised hold intact. It is short-term gains for the parties and leaders, but retrogression for the people and the country. The local body elections will be the stimulus for development from every angle and they are a must.
Many roads in the capital city are being dismantled in order to widen them to ensure smoother flow of vehicular traffic and also to facilitate the pedestrians. However, so far little, if any, initiatives are being made to make the roads as a result of which the roads and pavements are strewn with debris. Because of this, the streets are congested and it is difficult for both the vehicles and pedestrians to move around in the city. A matter of grievance is that
ecause of the rains, slush tends to accumulate on the roads and pavements making it difficult to walk
on. There are many cases of pedestrians tripping
after slipping while walking on the slush. To add fuel to fire, there are many potholes some of which
are very deep. You are lucky to get by, under the circumstances, with only sprained ankles. Many
pedestrians report serious injuries, some requiring hospitalization.
The authorities should have planned the demolition drive well in advance so as not to cause an inconvenience to the public. The construction works should have started immediately after the demolition. Right now the city is looking a mess.