BUTWAL, Oct 3: It has been 12 years since Sabitra Bhattarai of Sukkhanagar in Butwal has been struggling for a jar of water every single day. During these years, a lot of leaders got elected as ministers and lawmakers. After a long wait of two decades, people finally elected their representatives at the local units of the three-tier government.
However, her locality is still battling with the drinking water problem.
"Earlier, there were fewer houses so we had enough water. But since the last 10/12 years, it has been challenging for us to manage water for drinking and household purposes," said Sabitra. During the local polls, almost all the candidates had made drinking water problem their major election agenda.
A year after getting elected, none of the people's representatives have fulfilled their promises. Neither their drinking water nor the waste management problem has been solved. "We expected so much from the mayors and deputy mayors due to their lofty promises but we didn't realize bank then that the pledges were made just to get elected," she added.
Bishnu Thapa of Butwal-11 says the elected representatives did nothing more than hiking taxes in this one year.
Bishnu Thapa of Butwal-11 says the elected representatives did nothing more than hiking taxes in this one year. Venting his ire against the representatives, Thapa said, "There is no water in the taps, garbage has not been picked for weeks and when we reach to the ward office for any work, the officials don't stop staring at us until they find out which party we support. Nothing has changed for those who don't know and understand politics."
This year, Butwal Sub-metropolis increased the waste management charge from Rs 25 to Rs 100. Despite that, garbage is not picked regularly, complain the locals. There are so many roads in the market areas which have been damaged since long but none of the authorities have paid attention of repairing them. Pedestrians and street vendors are obliged to risk their health due to dust and fumes in the roads.
According to Samundra GC, chairperson of Hotel and Restaurant Association, Rupandehi, the exorbitant taxes charged by the local units will result in the closure of small scale businesses. Earlier, hotel and restaurant owners had to pay a tax of Rs 3,000 which now has increased four folds up to Rs 12,000.
The local government has also sharply increased tax on property ownership as well. This has compelled the locals to pay tax more than their income.
Residents of Siddharthanagar Municipality had to go through great ordeal as their houses and fields got inundated by this year's flood. Lack of sewage management often results into inundation here. Despite being aware of the cause, the people's representatives and lawmakers have not been able to solve this problem. People here are dismayed by the sharp tax hike especially because they have not experienced any change from the new government.
There are six municipalities, 10 rural municipalities and a sub-metropolis in Butwal but none of the local units have been able to satisfy the people with their work. Instead, they have been blamed for adding further burden to the already troublesome lives of the people.