The country conducted the historic first phase of local level election on May 14 in three provinces. As the second phase of the much-awaited poll inches closer, Nepal Republic Media this week started a series of interaction with local authorities and civil society representatives in various tarai districts where the election fever is at its peak now. Here are some excerpts:
Parties must rise above their petty interests
Binod Prakash Singh,
As far as the political parties are concerned, they must rise above their petty interests and always give priority to national interests. They must change their narrow-minded thinking, vision and attitude. Otherwise, the system cannot work efficiently. The region has a huge potential in tourism, among other opportunities. What the media can do is highlight such news. The media can shed light on the bright sides and challenges. We feel that the media has not done enough to raise the issues of the marginalized Madhesis and other backward groups.
Good leadership needed
Surya Kumar Saru, President of Sidhartha Transport Entrepreneurs Committee
This place is an industrial hub. Industries, big as well as small, are here. So, here we need peace and security. The district receives over a hundred thousand foreign tourists every year. The towns and villages should have been far more developed than now. However, we are still struggling for basic facilities and that is because we lack a good leader, good leadership. Media must work as a real watchdog
Shiva Gyawali, President (Lumbini zone) Nepal Chemist and Druggist Association
They say that ‘Singha Durbar’ is now coming to the villages. That’s a good development. But there are equal chances of the powers being misused. So, the media must be very alert. So far, the media has given priority only to the political issues whereas it must give due space to social issues as well. There are lots of things which are directly connected with the public. So, the media should provide enough coverage to issues such as health and education. Drugs should not be imported without enough homework. There are many other such issues to be raised. Lumbini can support the entire country
Shiva Subedi, mayoral candidate for Butwal Sub-metropolitan City
Given its vast agricultural, industrial and tourism resources, Lumbini in fact has the economic potential to support the entire country. We must conserve, preserve and promote Lumbini. We must be able to rightly exploit the resources we have in order to develop this place and beyond. We can end the problem of unemployment pretty soon; all we have to do is take a few right steps.
Tourism has huge potential here
Hari Prasad Adhikari, mayoral candidate,
We have not been able tap our potentials. Things would have been different now, had we been able to do that. First, we must be able to fix things like sanitation, roads and other infrastructures. Then we must focus on bringing in more tourists. That alone would ensure our development and prosperity. Hundreds of tourists enter the country everyday through the border point at Sunauli. We are yet to take maximum benefit from this. We must open our eyes now.
Drug abuse is a huge problem
Uma Kafle, deputy mayoral candidate,
The open border with India has its pros and cons. One of the most serious issues is the drug supply. Due to the open border, our youths are falling into the bad habit of drug abuse. They can get drugs very easily across the border. Similarly, the open border is also a factor behind exploitation of girls and women. Violence against women would have been far less if the border was sealed. The social awareness level is very low. People have no access to health and education facilities. There are lots of things to take care of or improve.
Lumbini’s development will change everything around
Chandra Prakash Shrestha, president of Siddharthanagar
We can change everything around if we develop Lumbini well. We have to keep it clean and attractive. Let the tourists swarm the place in all seasons. We have been carrying out a number of activities for tourism promotion. But that is not enough. We need national-level plans and policies to attract tourists and make them stay here longer. The Gautam Buddha Airport is a big dream project for us. But the government is taking time to upgrade it to an international airport. That should not be delayed any further. Also, Siddharthanagar can be developed as an industrial town.
Think about positive discrimination
Hakiullah Khan, district in-charge, CPN (Maoist Center)
Not all the wards in Siddharthanagar are backward. Some of them are extremely backward while some others are doing fine. So, funds and resources must be distributed accordingly for proportionate development. We need to practice positive discrimination in order to develop all wards equally. We must facilitate farmers and small industry operators. We should also increase local production instead of importing everything from India and China. Until we work with such a vision, we cannot be self-reliant.
Media should guide society
Ajaj Alam, Former president of Rupandehi Udyog Sangh
Media plays vital role in overall development of the country. Constructive role of media helps development take a leap forward. Similarly, if media fails to guide society, we will lose sense of direction. Regarding Rupandehi, industrial development is what we need to focus on. If our factories operate well, there will be more employment and the district becomes more self-reliant. We have been doing our best and putting in best efforts. For instance, we opened a hospital for heart patients in Butuwal. Media should cover such news also. This encourages us. If we make mistakes then media should alert us.
Use of children in electioneering should stop
Rima BC , Insec member
The second phase of election is at the doorsteps. We are concerned over the misuse of children during such times. Even in the past children would be used for election campaigns. Media should report on such issues so as to discourage the practice. Violence against girls and women is already rampant in the district and use of children in electioneering is also a form of violence. Human rights and dignigy of each and every individual should be respected.