SURKHET, May 15: It has already been a year since the first phase local polls elected local representatives under the country's newly adopted federal system. Employees assigned by the central government to run local governments were replaced by locally elected representatives under the slogan of 'Gaugauma Singha Durbar'. With this change, locals had a lot of hope and expectations from their representatives. But now much of this has turned into disappointment.
The elected representatives have failed to live up to the expectations so far.A good example is Barahatal Rural Municipality of Surkhet district. The chairman of the local unit is Tej Bahadur Basnet, a former teacher who has made a significant contribution to spreading education in western Nepal. His election brought excitement among the locals. But asked about his achievements in the first year, his response is dismal.“There has not been much progress. We are just starting to formulate the policies and laws,” Basnet shared. He admitted that the locals have not yet felt the difference.Flood victims who have been living under tarpaulins for the past four years are still under tarps.
The rural municipality has failed to work for their welfare, leading to understandable ire among them.“During the elections, Basnet canvassed our votes promising suitable treatment of the displaced,” recalled Narendra Khatri, who lives at a camp at Girighat. “But after winning the elections, he has not set foot here even once.”Surkhet has nine local units. Only a few among them have completed formulation of their policies and laws and started work on their implementation.Aathbis Municipality of Dailekh also has not been able to formulate its policies and laws so far. Although the municipality formulated a master plan for roads and agriculture, there has not been any progress in implementing it.Mayor Khadga Raj Upadhyay had promised to fulfill the needs of the locals.
However, there has not been any visible progress.The situation is no different in other local units of Dailekh, as is evident from the dissatisfaction among locals. “Rather than working for the needs of the locals, the elected representatives are more into speeches and promises. Our disappointment cannot be expressed in words,” said Bikash Sunar, a local of Narayan Municipality.Despite the widespread complaints, some local representatives have however met people's expectations. Mahabu Rural Municipality that borders Kalikot has already formulated 19 different laws, policies and work plans. It has constructed a building for the local unit and extended road access to all seven wards of the rural municipality.“Among the promises I made during the election campaign, I have fulfilled the promises about road access and electricity. Many other development works are also ongoing,” said Rural Municipality Chairman Junga Bahadur Shahi. His words are backed by proof, which is rare among our politicians.Stating that the first year has been a test, Chairman Shahi said there would be further achievements during his remaining tenure.Karnali Province has 25 municipalities and 54 rural municipalities.
Most of the elected representatives have taken the first year as 'a honeymoon period' and have not felt much pressure to deliver.Chief of Tatopani Rural Municipality Nawaraj Neupane in Jumla district said his first year has been a learning experience. “The lessons I have learned in the first year will be implemented in the remaining four years,” he said. Such remarks only show how unprepared the elected representatives are to take up the challenges of their positions.Representatives in Jumla district also have made some progress.
Paratasi Rural Municipality Chair Laxi Man Bohora informed that important work is ongoing in the sectors of infrastructure development, health, education, agriculture and animal husbandry.Guthichaur Rural Municipality Chair Hari Bahadur Bhandari has celebrated the first year of his tenure as 'Road Year', prioritizing road construction. Living up to the promise, the rural municipality succeeded in developing road access to 23 settlements.