Despite Inadequate Budget, Effort To Cover All Areas

Here is an edited part of the conversation of INSEC Surkhet Representative, Prabha Rawat, with Lalvir Bhandari, head of Panchapuri Municipality of Surkhet, on human rights-friendly laws, initiatives to ensure children’s access to education, etc.

How many human rights-friendly laws have been promulgated by Panchapuri Municipality so far?

The municipality has not yet promulgated such a human rights-friendly law. In the coming days, steps will be taken to draft, promulgate and implement human rights-friendly laws. We have formulated health-related procedural laws. We have also formulated many procedural bylaws for infrastructure. Health and Education Act is being prepared. The local level will be operated through these Acts and bylaws. We are also preparing to make a law related to tourism.

What are the plans to ensure access to education for children who can’t afford or are not admitted to school?

We have made the necessary procedures for providing scholarships to encourage children who are financially weak, who have lost their parents, and who are destitute and deprived of access to education. We are working from this Baisakh to distribute allowances in the annual procedure of the financial year 022/023. We are also trying to ensure programs for children who are deprived of going to school due to financial difficulties.

This municipality has a high number of cases of domestic violence. What efforts have been made to reduce incidents of domestic violence?

INSEC has also worked for the protection of human rights in Panchapuri Municipality. The local level is also struggling. Public awareness programs are key to reducing the impact of violence against women and domestic violence. We have managed the budget for public awareness. Various organizations and municipalities have worked to reduce violence. However, the expected results were not obtained. The effort continues.

In the western region of Surkhet, the custom of Chhaupadi is still maintained. What kind of plan do you have to make the municipality free from Chhaugoth?

Various organizations and municipalities also made a lot of efforts for the Chhaupadi custom. Chhaugoth was also destroyed, but the municipality feels that people’s mentality should need to change for the custom to end. It is necessary to raise public awareness. Recently, there has been some improvement. People should be mentally prepared. We are working on changing the mentality of the community.

How is the municipality ensuring the inclusivity of Dalit and minority communities during the selection of plans?

The municipality has tried to emphasize the active participation of citizens of all communities during the selection of plans. Dalits, tribals, and women participate in the selection of plans. We have tried to implement it because the local level has been provided by the constitution of inclusiveness and proportionality. There is a lack of sufficient budget but we have tried to cover all areas.