BUTWAL, May 24: A year ago, when the government announced to conduct local elections for the first time in 20 years, Jamuna Gautam of Tilottama Municipality was extremely happy.
Now, a year later, she looks equally disappointed. Though she didn't expect much from the newly-elected local representatives, she laments that they didn't make efforts to fulfill even the minimum expectations of the electorate.
All that she and her neighbors had demanded during the election campaign was to repair the dilapidated road to make travel safe. The candidates (who are now elected people's representatives) had promised that they would rebuild the road as soon as possible, but so far no work has been done to improve the road.
Tapaha-Shivapur-Dhokawar road section which connects nearly half a dozen villages of Tillottama is narrow and full of potholes. This year, the municipality spent Rs 80 million in the repair and maintenance of several other roads except for this road section.
Locals have accused the representatives of favoring and prioritizing places where they have most supporters. "Representatives should be thinking about the welfare of all but here they seem working only for those who voted for them," said Madhav Lal Devkota, a local.
According to the locals, places like Karhiya, Gangoliya and Madhavaliya have not been given priority while allocating development budget. Kul Prasad Neupane, a local of Siddharthanagar-4, shared that development works have not been proportionately allocated in all wards of the municipality. He said that the roads in the hometown of the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons have not just been repaired but built anew while people living in other areas continue to use unsafe roads.\
According to Neupane, who is also the chairperson of Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, even after the election of local representatives, there has not been much improvement in the working style and development projects remain sluggish just like before.
Six months after the appointment of representatives, a model auto village project worth Rs 260 million was withdrawn. A drinking water project worth Rs 220 million and the Waste Processing Center of Rs 270 million has been left midway.
The scarcity of water is a major problem in most wards of Butwal. And the problem gets worse during summer. "We haven't really been able to experience the presence of the local representatives," said Laxmi Khanal of Butwal-8.
Kamal Rana of Butwal-11 said that the representatives seem less concerned about the miseries of the locals. "They had promised to address the issues of squatters within three months of their elections but have done nothing so far," said Rana.
Khelraj Pandey, Chairperson of Nepali Congress (NC) in Butwal alleged that the representatives have made the sub-metropolis a center for recruiting their party workers. "They have been doing nothing but emptying the state coffers," said Pandey.
Nurjag KC, chairperson of the Economics Department at Butwal Multiple Campus, said, "The local representatives have been thinking only about their own cadres," said KC.
Meanwhile, Butwal Mayor Shivaraj Subedi dismissed the accusations and challenged those who have made such accusations to come up with solid evidences. He said a large number of development projects are in the process of implementation.