Garbage issue and poor roads are the biggest concerns of the people
JHAPA, Dec 22: Right after their victory in the local level elections this July, local representatives vowed in a gathering in Birtamode that they would make the people feel the change within a month. Their promises before and after the elections were loud. Mayor of Birtamode Municipality Dhurba Kumar Shivakoti, Deputy Mayor Pabitra Devi Mahtara and all ward members assured people of all possible efforts to make the area clean and well managed soon.
Five months on, the situation in the market and other prime areas of the town shows that nothing has changed. It only proves that the leaders' promises were hollow. Their actions do not match their words, people accuse. Lack of garbage management has become the prime concern of the people. The sorry state of roads and public offices has deepened their frustrations.
“We elected them with so much hope and confidence. But, even after five, six months, they have done nothing,” remarked Subash Bhandari, a local businessman in Birtamode. “The garbage in the main market area has begun to take toll on our health. We cannot breathe, it stinks so badly,” he added.
Birtamode is considered a major town of the eastern region. Locals accuse that not even a penny has been spent in developmental works after the elections. They lament that the roads are covered with sewages and crossing through it is a hellish experience.
“Our mayor and deputy mayor also walk through the same road. They also block their nose while moving from here. But, they take no steps to make things better,” fumed Bhandari. “If the situation remains the same, we will be forced to shut our shutter and go home. There won't be any business,” he added.
Locals have taken the complaints to the municipal office several times. They have even held meetings with the concerned officials. However, change is hard to come by. Bhandari thinks this is due to the lack of willpower of the representatives.
“We can understand that there are obstacles. There isn't enough infrastructure and policies are not clear. However, it does not mean that can stay with their hands folded. They can work hand in hand with locals for cleanliness,” Bhandari stated. “But they cite the elections, sometimes festive season and so on as excuse for not working,” he added.
Not bringing any result even in nearly half a year has irked the public. This, in fact, is not a situation of Birtamode alone. Reports from several other parts of the district indicate that local representatives have disappointed people largely.
Kul Prasad Sangraula, ward member of Birtamode -4, meanwhile said that the situation has not been favorable in order to work. Earlier, there was monsoon and later festivals and now the elections have posed challenges, he claimed.
“We understand that we haven't been able to deliver what we promised. But we will do it once things get back on track. There has not been favorable situation so far,” he said. “Even I myself have been affected by this garbage. I had some health issue and the doctor said it was due to infection caused by dust,” he added.
Sangraula was told by doctor that dust in Bhadrapur's roads is taking toll on his health. He claimed that he then talked to the officials of the road department in this regard. “However, the road department did not pay heed to the matter,” he said.
According to mayor of Mechi Nagar Municipality, Bimal Acharya, big promises during the election have also been a cause of the problem. To woo voters, candidates then cited ambitious projects, 'many of which were not feasible'. “And now it is natural for the people to go restless when even small things have not been done. But when we see from our perspective, there are some managerial and policy level obstacles,” he said.
Apart from the management of garbage, repairing of the road has been the other major concern of the locals. All the towns and villages are suffering due to bad condition of roads. “Roads have been very dangerous. The roads not only cause accidents but also kill people by excessive dust. The authority should not make any excuse as it is a matter of people's lives ,” noted Chandra Narayan Singh, a health worker based in Dhulabari.