IT park in Kavre awaits own dawn

Kathmandu, December 28:

If all goes well, the long-awaited Information Technology (IT) Park in Kavre may open soon.

Ganesh Shah, Minister for Science Technology and Environment, said at a programme organised today by Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN), Seoul National University (SKorea), Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, PPPUE/UNDP and Prime College on ‘Fostering Public Private Partnership (PPP) for implementation of e-governance in municipalities’ that Kavre would be developed as the District of Information Technology’. “Banepa, with the Information Technology Park, will be the IT hub,” he said.

Stressing on IT as the ruling factor at the world level Shah said IT is in highest demand at the world level, but in the context of Nepal people are lagging far behind. The computer literacy rate in Nepal is around three per cent only.

“There’s an IT park at Banepa but it is not operational. Once it starts, the place can be the IT hub,” said Shah adding that the ministry was trying to bring e-revolution via e-governance in both local and central administration.

Focusing on the PPP concept, Shah said IT sector would generate huge employment opportunities. “We must work in collaboration to create sustainable development and manage fast growing urbanization,” he said.

According to MuAN statistics, urban population during 1971 was 462,000. It grew to 1,693,000

in 1991 and reached 3,300,000 in 2001. MuAN has estimated the total population till 2016 will touch the 6,600,000 mark.

“We are the first to receive technology from abroad but we are lagging in its implementation.

Balaju IT Park is the most accurate example of it,” said Ashok Byanju, vice-president of MuAN,

adding, “We have higher tax rates in computer application, and we are charged too for even operating computers which is a hindrance to people getting computer literate. Had expenses been low, computer education would have spread faster.”

Briefing about the issue of and challenges in ICT localization in the country’s municipalities, Sushil Gyawali, executive secretary at MuAN, said there were no national polices and strategies for ICT localization and e-governance in local government or municipalities. He added that the e-governance master plan had not addressed local governments and there was no action towards the enhancement of ICT application in local governments.

“Only 50 per cent of municipalities have proper access to internet and email facilities. Wireless technology has just started and little attention is given to local governments till date. Besides, there is shortage of power supply apart from the poor overall situation of ICT,” said Gyawali.

Talking about the English literacy rate, Suresh Kumar Karna, president of Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) said, “English literacy rate is about 8 per cent. Therefore, Unicode should be developed so that rural people can use it easily and the municipality can play a vital role in creating awareness about the IT.”

Suwarna Shakya, executive director of National Information Technology Centre, said, “We have only three per cent computer literate people in the country and even so, 75 per cent of these are abroad. Unless ICT develops here and e-governance is implemented, we cannot stop the ongoing brain drain.”