Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City lacks reliable population data
The Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City in Banke district lacks exact data regarding its population and the number of houses in the sub-metropolis area. It has been relying on the ‘rough records’ dating back to many years kept by its ward offices for any planning.
The trend of constructing houses flouting the standards is on the rise in the sub-metropolis, the major commercial centre of mid-western Nepal. It is said the number of houses constructed following the building standards is less compared to the number of houses constructed by infringing the standard. No efforts have been made from any quarters to stop this trend, which has increased the risk to life and property of the sub-metropolis dwellers. Moreover, Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City has also not been able to collect house tax due to the lack of exact data on the number of houses in the city.
As per the data accessed on the sub-metropolis’ website, the population of sub-metropolis’ ward number 23 has been stated 138, 951. The ward covers an area of 85.94 square kilometers. This is the date from 2011. The population has nearly doubled now. But the sub-metropolis has no data regarding this. Like it lacks exact data on the population and the number of houses at ward number 23, the sub-metropolis neither has the exact data nor has it shown any inclination to update the data.
It is estimated that the number of houses is increasing at the rate of about 5,000 annually with the rapid urbanization. The sub-metropolis has no other option except than depending on the data of the 2011 population census as it has not itself updated the sub-metropolis’ data. Due to this, it has been facing problem collecting house rent tax and other municipal taxes. Shyam Rawat, a resident of sub-metropolis ward number 4, said: “The population of the city is increasing and with this the number of new houses is also growing. But the sub-metropolis is doing very little to update the related data.”
He added that it has been two years since the local level elections have been held and the local people’s representatives have assumed office but precious little has been done by the sub-metropolis regarding collecting new statistics or updating the existing ones. Likewise, the sub-metropolis has not taken meaningful initiatives for systematizing the haphazard settlements and allocating house numbers.
Nepal Housing and Settlement Protection Society’s central general secretary Kumar Karki has said it has become imperative to distribute the house number to fulfill the government’s goal of building smart city. Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City’s chief administrative officer Hari Pyakurel said none of the house in the sub-metropolis has been allocated house number. According to him, it is now necessary to adopt metric system of house numbering with the help of GIS.
– Kashiram Sharma RSS