Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli does not like when pictures of tuins are published in the newspapers. ‘They do not get to see one these days and therefore use the old ones,’ he reportedly said recently. The Prime Minister boasts that his government has accomplished so much in terms of creating basic minimum structures such as bridges and roads. Needless to say, there are fewer tuins now than in the past and more roads are being built. But PM’s exaggerated claims of replacing tuins and making of bridges mock all those who have to live without bridges. Take this case from Surkhet. Students from Mohanyal Rural Municipality-3 of Kailali have to go to Surkhet to attend schools. But since there is no bridge between Kailali and Surkhet, they either go through the narrow wooden boat, which might somersault, or they do not go to school at all. Something has changed recently. A campaign named ‘Hami Manabta Bachau’ provided life jackets to 55 students who cross the Karnali River to attend school. Students seem to be happy about getting the life jackets too. But this is no solution. The solution is to build a bridge over the river. With a bridge over the river, the students can reach the school in 35 minutes, which they take more than one and half hours to reach at the moment, which means very little time for studies and extracurricular activities.
Situations like these are a big slap to PM’s big talks of prosperity and development. As a matter of fact, the government has failed to ensure a basic minimum infrastructure in the Valley and beyond. The situation is such that people have to resort to street protests or block the mobility of vehicles to get the roads blacktopped or repaired. The locals living along Chabahil-Sankhu road had to do this and others are also following suit. Prime Minister Oli has already become the subject of intense criticism over the security printing press procurement scam over which Minister of Communication and Information Technology has resigned. His involvement in the scam has also been suspected.
As things stand, Kathmandu still remains a dusty and dirty place. Pollution should have been, and could have been, controlled before the Visit Nepal 2020 started. The government failed to do this. Likewise, repairing the roads inside the Valley, and which are also the main sources of pollution, could have been completed earlier but they are in bad shape. In far-flung villages, children still have to cross the rivers through tuins or small risky boats. The Prime Minister talks about railways and waterways. They are long-term projects and will take time to realize. What the people judge the government by is on the basis of whether it is able to do the basic minimum for the people. The most basic facility the students of Mohanyal Rural Municipality of Kailali need at the moment is a bridge. This, it seems, will require intervention from Singha Durbar.