KATHMANDU, Aug 23: After burdening the people with hefty taxes, the elected representatives have started purchasing expensive vehicles to facilitate themselves. While they are using the taxpayers' money to buy vehicles for their ease, they seem least interested in purchasing ambulances and fire engines for public service.
Local units have announced to buy vehicles not just for mayors and chairperson but also for deputy mayors and vice-chairpersons. Some of the local units had angered the locals by purchasing vehicles last year but most of them are doing it now. It costs around Rs. 3 to 6 million to purchase a vehicle.
Representatives in executive posts will be provided with cars or jeeps while others will receive motorbikes. At a time when the government is being heavily criticized for increasing the taxes exorbitantly, the elected people's representatives are adding fuel to the fire. There are four municipalities and six rural municipalities in the district but only two of the municipalities have fire engines. The rest do not even have ambulances.
A few days ago, Fakfokthum Rural Municipality announced a contract for purchasing a jeep and an excavator. Reportedly, the jeep will cost more than Rs 4 million. Currently, this local unit is paying Rs 110,000 every month for renting vehicles for the representatives.Ilam Municipality recently purchased a vehicle for the deputy mayor by spending Rs 3.8 million and is planning to buy a new vehicle for the mayor as well. It has been only two years since the municipality purchased the vehicle currently being used by the mayor for Rs 3.1 million. Likewise, preparations are underway to buy seven motorbikes for other representatives spending a budget of Rs 1.7 million.
Most of the local units do not have fire engines and ambulances and those, which have, are in a sorry state. But no representative is concerned about repairing them. Ram Kumar Sah, Administrative officer of the municipality, said that the local unit has no plans to buy an ambulance or a fire engine at the moment.
Meanwhile, Meringden Rural Municipality of Taplejung bought a Scorpio jeep for its representatives by spending a hefty amount of Rs. 5.7 million. Unfortunately, some of the villages of this local unit are not even connected to roads. Its neighboring Faktanglung Rural Municipality too has spent Rs 5 million to buy a half body Scorpio. Only a few days ago, Sirijanga Rural Municipality of the district bought a similar vehicle.
Due to the lack of ambulance service, locals of Falelung Rural Municipality of Paanchthar are compelled to carry the patients to hospitals in pickup trucks. Some even lose their lives after being unable to reach hospital on time. But their plight has not attracted the attention of representatives. It is surprising that the representatives of this village travel in expensive Scorpios.
Those who had expected change and development after the formation of the local governments have been greatly disappointed with the move by their representatives.