By TRN Online, Kathmandu, May. 3: Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has decided to postpone the 12th national population census, which was being held after 10 years.
"According to our schedule, we were supposed to be holding meetings and programmes to directly communicate with the people. But due to the increasing threat of COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the programme for now," informed Dundiraj Lamichhane, chief of Population Statistics Office under the Central Bureau of Statistics.
"Although the meeting of the council of ministers has decided to halt all works related to population census, for now, we have not received an official letter regarding the same yet," he said.
Lamichhane informed that the works of the national census would be done in the upcoming days by framing a new schedule on the basis of the status of COVID-19 in the nation.
"However, the possibility of starting the national population census within the ongoing Fiscal Year is low. We have targeted to begin the counting from FY 2078/79," said Lamichhane.
The training programme for superintendents, which had kicked off on April 28 has also been postponed due to the pandemic.
Similarly, according to the schedule, the training programme for 43 thousand enumerators nationwide was supposed to start from May 9. After the training, the enumerators were supposed to reach the field by June 8 and start the census from June 22.
Diwakar Luitel, deputy secretary at the National Planning Commission, said, "The national population census is not only a programme happening in a decade. It is rather a national fest. However, as the statistics department couldn’t hold the programme as per the schedule, we decided to propose the postponement of the census for now."
The population statistics office informed that around 85 per cent of the preparations for the census had already completed.
"A total of 10 enumerators will be deployed in one Rural Municipality. Hence, the chances of unnecessary crowding are low," said deputy secretary Luitel, adding, "As new officials have been deployed for the census, providing training to them via virtual medium is impossible."
"As conducting the training is not possible in the current scenario due to the mounting cases of the virus, we were not left with any alternatives other than postponing the census," said Luitel.
For the 12th national population census, the department has appointed 43, 000 enumerators to directly reach each and every people.