LAHAN, Aug 4: Leaving piles of garbage at almost every nook and corner of the city for the past two weeks, representatives of Lahan Municipality including the mayor have gone for an excursion. As the people responsible for resolving the waste disposal problem are currently on a visit, it is uncertain how long the locals of Lahan will have to deal with the garbage ordeal.
A team of representatives including ward chiefs, judicial committee members, and chief administrative officer among others led by Mayor Muni Sah Sudi is out for a week-long visit. The team started their trip to the western districts on Wednesday stating that they want to gain a firsthand experience of development.
Not only the locals but also the cadres of various political parties have criticized the mayor and other representatives for going on a visit, leaving the city in a mess of garbage. Venting his disappointment against the inappropriate visit, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Satyanarayan Yadav ironically wrote on his facebook wall, "They all are out for a visit to promote the waste management system of Lahan. Hope they will succeed in doing so."
Meanwhile, civil society leader Sunil Kumar Sah posted a similar Facebook comment. "Our representatives are so busy that the piles of garbage all over the road have failed to grab their attention. So, it's time for the locals to clean up the road on their own." Sah wrote on Facebook stating the representatives have been elected for the welfare of the people. "The problems of the people must come first for them more than anything else."
Another local, Rakesh Jha, said the elected representatives have completely ignored the right of the people to breathe fresh air. The bad smell coming from the garbage on the streets has made it difficult for the people to breathe. The vicious cycle of rain and extreme heat has caused the garbage to rot on the streets, putting the locals at the risk of several communicable diseases.
The garbage left to rot on the streets can lead to a serious epidemic, says Dr Arvind Sah. According to him, it is very important to maintain proper hygiene in the monsoon to be safe from rain-induced diseases. However, the dirt and filth gathered in open areas have made it challenging for the residents to maintain proper hygiene.
Recalling her joy when government announced local elections after a hiatus of 20 years, street vendor Bechani Mandal said, "We thought we will now have representatives to address our woes but we didn't know that they will prioritize their interest and problems rather than ours." She laments that hundreds of street vendors like her have no option to selling their fruits and vegetables amid garbage.
Following the directive of Mayor Sah, the main crosswords of Lahan was converted into a mountain of garbage. Ram Kumar Dev, Chief of Division Road Office (DRO) was told by Mayor Sah to widen the road of the municipality to up to 103 feet. But Chief of DRO Dev refused to do so, arguing that it was against the law. His reply angered Mayor Sah after which he obstructed the waste collection and warned of not resuming it until the road was widened. As a result, the garbage dumped in the market has not been disposed for the past 17 days,.
"If DRO is not ready to co-operate with us, why should we pick of the garbage from the roads? We won't take back our decision until the road office agrees to widen the road," said Mayor Sah. As per the Local Governance Conduct Act 2017, waste management and collection is the responsibility of the municipality or rural municipality.