'Local polls could be a solution to Nepalgunj's myriad problems'
June 3, 2017 01:10 AM NPT
The people in provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 are eagerly waiting for the second round of local level elections slated for June 28. The country has long been battling against irregularities at various levels due to the absence of local representatives. So, the declaration of election has revived hopes for a better and developed nation. Nepal Republic Media on Thursday organized an interaction program with various dignitaries and stakeholders of Nepalgunj on what should be done to develop the sub-metropolis. Here are some excerpts:
Bijay Gupta Former mayor
The city has been lacking the political will required for development. There is no one to raise voice against the contractors for low quality road construction. Locals of our community have always kept mum on such issues. Development depends a lot on the people it is meant for as well. We need active participation and engagement from the locals in policy formulation and implementation. As long as there is no public concern, development won't be possible.
Dr Dhawal Shumsher Rana Mayoral candidate, Rastriya Prajatantra Party
Elections should be fought on the basis of the strength and capability of individuals and should be above petty political interests. No matter who gets elected, they will be entrusted with the same responsibility and that is to bring development. Ending organizational corruption prevalent in various organizations of sub-metropolitan city is the first and foremost step that should be taken to bring development.
Kiran Koirala Banke district chief, Nepali Congress
The pace of development in Nepalgunj has been very slow. But the time has finally arrived to change that. The country has lacked political stability for a long time. Whoever gets elected, their first and foremost duty would be to change the development scenario in their local units.
Dr Suresh Kanodia Prospective candidate for mayor, Nepali Congress
We have found great excitement and enthusiasm among the people for the local elections. They are equally hopeful. It has been a long time since they have not seen any change. Nepalgunj is lagging extremely behind in development. Even the state is responsible for its backwardness. There are enough prospects for development but we lack people's representatives with vision.
Ratna Khatri Secretary, CPN-UML
One of the major reasons for lagging behind in development is the failure to understand the needs and problems of the whole Banke district. Development is not just limited to roads and there is more to it. Though the district is known for its fertile land, the young people are not engaged in agriculture. If the representatives really want, they can make Banke a hub for health, education and medicinal herbs.
Damodar Acharya Mayoral candidate, CPN (Maoist- center)
As far as I am concerned, the economic agenda's of the district should be tourism and Industry. A lot of youths here are without jobs. It will be better if tourism base camps are developed in various places for their employment.
Krishna Raj Pandey Mayoral candidate, Rastriya Janamorcha
Institutional corruption is a big issue in Nepalgunj. So, efforts must be taken to control it. The end of organizational corruption will ultimately boost the economy of Nepalgunj. Besides that, it is also struggling with pollution which needs to be tackled as soon as possible.
Misbah Ul Haq Ansari Deputy mayoral candidate, Nepal Democratic Forum
Though Nepalgunj has been declared as a sub-metropolitan city, it does not meet the criteria for it. The condition of the newly-formed wards is very pathetic. It becomes challenging for the people even to move from one ward to another during the rainy season.
Chandra Kala Upreti Conflict victim
Violence against women has existed for centuries in our society. Police don't want to register the cases of violence against women. Similarly, the miseries of the conflict victims are no different. The victims are disappointed with various organizations for the latter's inability to address their issues. So, we are hopeful that the local election will help to resolve such issues.
Mustafa Ahasan Kureshi
Nepalgunj is an old and historical city. But unfortunately it is battling with various problems which are common in almost all fields. This has made it a 'city of problems'. We are glad that Nepal Republic media is highlighting the issues of various local units in its western editions.
Sarad Paudel Officer, District Coordination Committee
There is lack of cleanliness in Banke. Roads and electricity are the pre-requisites for development. So, we have been conducting 'Ujyalo' program in places without access to electricity. We have even formulated a five-year work plan for development. This will be a lesson for the upcoming representatives. Likewise, a five-year strategy has been formed for the development of tourism in the district.
Bishwojit Tiwari Lawyer
There is no proper estimation of the budget which will be invested in development projects. Locals have no idea about the budget which itself is a violation of their right to information. Many service-oriented organizations and authorities do not follow the orders of the court.
Almost all institutions have been politicized. Leaders and cadres of various political parties are found controlling various government authorities. We are hopeful that this will be solved after the local elections. The quality of education has been going down in recent days. There is no space on roads for rickshaws as the roads are narrow. Poor locals have no access to the Social Service Unit of Bheri Zonal Hospital. Not just that, social problems like multiple marriages and divorce are very common in the district.
Poshan KC Former general secretary of Federation of Nepalese Journalists
Political parties are serious about development. Though the media has been doing its job of raising the issues, political parties don't take those issues seriously. No political party could speak against the demolition of roads which were constructed with so much of hard work. This clearly shows that they have got nothing to do with development.
Nepalgunj is a market which has been created without any plan. Here, roads, drainage and even houses are built without any plans. Locals do not raise their voice for or against development plans and issues. Locals of Nepalgunj are in a deep sleep. They make noise only when it hurts.
Nepalese journalism has been limited only to accident reporting. There is need for preparing more issue-based news stories. Nepalgunj has great prospects. So, the media should make efforts to draw the attention of the authorities responsible.
Mayoral candidate, CPN-UML
The declaration of Nepalgunj as a sub-metropolitan city has increased the city's problems. Nepalgunj has its own history but many locals are still unaware about its issues and problems which is one of the reasons for its backwardness.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in Dang. It is the main income source for thousands of people. But in recent days, the district has been losing its arable land. If people won't take efforts to protect land, it would be hard to see cultivable land in dang. A lot of cultivable land has been used for human settlements. It is very necessary to stop unnecessary plotting of land. It is very important to seek the attention of all authorities to control it. It is possible to develop the district as an agricultural hub.
Though the locals are desperate to see new changes and development, Dang is not in a state of bringing any change. The condition of the few infrastructures that we have is also degrading. The district lacks roads and bridges. We have not yet been able to link Dang to Surkhet and other parts. The pace of development is painstakingly slow.
Binod Pokharel, Chairperson, BP Chitan Kendra
As of now, the main agenda of politicians should be bringing economic prosperity to the people. The new representatives should have a clear vision of how to develop the economic status of the district by using various means and resources available in the district. There are enough coal mines in the district which can play a significant role in changing the economic situation of the district. The people's representatives must search for the prospects of developments in the district.