Since the Maoists declared a regional autonomous government in Karnali, DDCs are displaying an interest in working with the rebels. DDC chairmen and their deputies say it would be better to involve the Maoists in development activities since there is no other way to function. "They can be involved when it becomes necessary," said Dhan B Adhikari, DDC chairman from Jajarkot. He explained that people can't enter the district without written permission from the rebels. "The situation is not secure enough to even walk around the district headquarters," says Adhikari.
The Maoists have requested the DDCs to work together in the construction of a 'new regime'. "Even if they don't come to me, there may be no harm if the development work is done without any corruption," says Adhikari.
Padmi Shah, DDC chairman from Rolpa, says after the Maoists asked her to join their party as a senior member, she had to leave her village and come to Kathmandu. "I haven't returned for the last two years," says Shah. This time, she is planning to return to her office in the village, hoping that the Maoists will not trouble her if she takes back a development package to benefit the locals.
For now, the ministry has told the DDC authorities to develop their own strategies to start development activities. It also stated that DDC officials should not expect state protection. "Since the officials are political activists, their parties should be the ones to protect them," said Khemraj Nepal of the Local Development Ministry.