29 Dec 2017 - 4 jan 2018 #890

Pokhara gets ready

Pokhara may be the undisputed capital city of Province 4, but it lacks physical infrastructure for the 60-member state assembly hall, ministries and the Chief Minister’s residence
Yuvaraj Shrestha in Pokhara

The dispute over whether to elect the Upper House under the single transferrable voting or the majority system has not only deadlocked the formation of the federal government in Kathmandu but also the provincial one here.

Just like in the Centre, the Chief Minister of a state needs to be elected within 30 days after the Election Commission (EC) publishes the final results of provincial polls. But the EC is waiting for the President to verify an ordinance on which the UML has objections.

Even after parties forge a consensus on how to form the Upper House, the formation of federal governments will still not be smooth sailing. Because Nepal has never practiced federal governance before, setting provincial governments in motion is likely to be punctuated by major hiccups.

Unlike in other provinces, there is not much discord over where the provincial capital will be for Province 4. Political parties have almost zeroed in on Pokhara, despite some mild protest from neighbouring Lekhnath municipality.

Pokhara may be the undisputed capital city of Province 4, but it lacks physical infrastructure for the 60-member state assembly hall, ministries and the Chief Minister’s residence. Although a resolution on turning Nepal into a federal state was passed a decade ago by the Constituent Assembly, no government ever allocated a budget to build the necessary infrastructure.

“We now have to utilise the buildings constructed for other purposes,” says Laxman Aryal, the Western Regional Administrator – a position that will be turned into provincial Chief Secretary. “Most of these buildings are old and derelict, but we do not have time and money to renovate them.”

A team headed by Aryal recently examined all government buildings in Pokhara to find out which of them is suitable for Province 4 government departments. The committee has chosen the Town Development Training Centre’s office for the state assembly, and the District Development Committee building for the Chief Minister’s office. The committee has also found out buildings for several ministries, but renovating them could cost up to Rs 280 million.

Read Also:

'To forget or not to forget', Shreejana Shrestha

'Thinking and acting locally', Om Astha Rai

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