SIRAHA, Feb 13: The Nepali people living in areas near the country's borders are deprived of various state services and privileges. The people living here don't have access to secondary level education and health facilities.
Locals living in Thadi of Bhagwanpur Rural Municipality have to reach Lahan to pay their electricity bill. While doing so, they have to spend twice the amount of the electricity bill. As Lahan is 18 km away from Thadi, locals lament that they have to spend more money on transportation. "We have to spend Rs 200 to pay an electricity bill of Rs 80," said Shiva Shankar Sah, a local. Though the villagers have made pledges to the authorities concerned to set up a counter in the village for paying electricity bills, nothing has been done yet.
Even for minor health problems such as common cold and fever, the locals have to reach other villages as there are no proper health posts. There is a primary health post which has not been able to facilitate the locals due to the lack of sufficient manpower and medicines. While some prefer to go to Lahan, some find it easier crossing the border for treatment.
Attached with the Indian border, Thadi is considered a business point. Despite having a huge potential for flourishing business, most markets here are empty. No access to banking services is the major reason behind it. Seventeen years ago, during the Maoist insurgency, the branch of Nepal Bank was relocated from Thadhi. Even after so many years, the branch hasn't reopened, lament the locals. As a result, they are relying on the Indian banks and some Nepali banks by reaching other banks which are at least 20 km away from their village.
As informed by Himalaya Dahal, chief of Thadi-based Customs Office, the revenue collected has to be transported to the main customs office which is 15 km away from Thadi. However, this is something that even the locals of Madar are obliged to deal with. The banks which closed down their businesses here are yet to resume services.
"We have not been able to grow our business due to the lack of banks," said Dilip Gupta, a local businessman.
The situation of education is even worse. The pre-primary school of Thadi is often padlocked. “There is a school but no students,” say teachers. The students registered in the attendance sheet go across the borders (Laukaha) for their education, according to the teachers.
As per the details of the school, there are 400 students but not even four of them come to the school. Dharmanath Gupata of Thadi says, sending his daughter to the school across the border is not a wish but a compulsion. "We made several efforts to improve the education of the school here but political meddling overshadowed our efforts," he said.