Ignorance On 744
“Sir, what does ‘744’ mean?” a gentleman probably in his mid 50s the other day asked this scribe at the Ward Office of Kathmandu 32. He was at the ward office to get a document prepared, and I was there to meet the administrative chief of the ward office. I was first confused by his question, and I asked him to repeat the question.
“I have heard many people these days uttering 744, but I have not understood them,” he said. Only then I came to know that he was referring to the numbers of new local units. I solved his curiosity. He looked happy, but again asked the fate of Village Development Committee of the past. “They have now turned into a ward,” another gentleman sitting next to me answered his question. Indeed, the congested office of the chief of the ward office turned into a venue of a workshop for a while. The topic was obviously the new local bodies.
Everyone in the office room participated in the debate, with some arguing that the number of local units was reduced to cut the administrative costs while others claimed that the administrative costs would go up as the ward offices, which are granted more authorities, need more staff to deliver their service. It seemed besides the gentleman, who asked the above question, everyone had more or less knowledge about the restructured local bodies. But the particular man, who looked well educated, had no idea about the new local units. He even did not know that his home address has changed into Ward-32 from Ward-35. When the administrative chief showed him the table of the changed ward numbers of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, he asked her whether he sought new documents in place of the old ones due to the change in his home address.
Of course, a number of clients in the next room of the ward office were busy getting new documents in place of their old ones while the gentleman was still trying to know the meaning of ‘744’. This means there is a need for generating awareness among the people about new structures of local units. When an educated man of Kathmandu knew nothing about the change, one can easily guess the situation in the far-flung villages.
When a significant number of people lack knowledge about the change made in local units, others will find it difficult to adjust to them. Many a remote villages have been annexed to municipalities while nine or more wards have turned into a ward. The entire home VDC of this scribe, including a ward of a neighbouring VDC, has now become the Ward No. 11 of Ilam municipality.
However, the new units have put the dream of the local activists of the political parties to occupy the political posts after an interval of 15 years in the local units to an end. Now those who were dreaming to become a VDC chair or vice chair have to contest for the post of ward chairman. A VDC in the past used to accommodate 47 political representatives, but when the entire VDC has become a ward, only five representatives will be accommodated. The new local units have discouraged the village people from taking politics as their career, which should be taken as a positive move. Now when the activists fail to get no political post, they need to engage in some productive business.