Infrastructure development a major issue

Biratnagar, November 28

Two major political forces — the left alliance and the Nepali congress —  are trying to polarise votes on the major planks of socialism and pluralism, but voters of Morang district  seem much more concerned about issues such as drinking water, energy, concrete roads, identity and inclusion.

Some educated voters in Morang are, however, more concerned about making Biratnagar the capital of Province 2.

Renu Paudel, a resident of Katahari Rural Municipality, said floods had damaged the bridge over Singiya River near her house. Since then, people of her village had been facing problems commuting to their jobs. “Our schoolchildren have to cross the river every day. There is no electricity in my village. We want candidates to resolve these problems,” she said. “Every time candidates give us assurances, but they never keep their word, they never visit us after elections,” she said.

Pradip Mandal of Biratnagar-18 too said he wanted candidates to build road in his village. “Our road is not even gravelled yet. During monsoon, we cannot even ride bicycles,” he said, “Floods swept away my food grains and utensils. Leaders pledged they would seek help from the government to build our houses, but we have not got anything,” he said, adding, “I heard that foreign governments and international agencies gave enough assistance for flood victims.”

Ranjit Roka, a resident of Biratnagar metropolis-2 said the past record of elected representatives was very bad. “Kulman Ghising ended load shedding in the country. Our leaders should be like him,” he said albeit jokingly.

Roka said security personnel were forcing businessmen to close down business after 8:00 or 8.30pm, but that was not the right way to ensure security. “Security personnel should do their job without causing inconvenience to the public,” he added.

Roka said candidates should ensure people’s safety and security and focus on infrastructure development if they wanted to serve the electorate. “We are going to elect our provincial leaders. I hope the candidates who remain in our areas will do something to develop infrastructure.”

Rajesh Mukhiya, a voter of Biratnagar metropolis-11, said he wanted candidates to ensure inclusion of marginalised communities, particularly Madhesis and Dalits. “If there are 13 employees in a government office, you see only two Madhesi or Dalit employees,” he added.

Pushpa Bikram Basnet, a voter of Biratnagar-1, said Biratnagar should be the capital of Province 2. “Biratnagar became a metropolis recently and it has all the infrastructures to be the capital of the province,” he added.

Prof Raj Narayan Yadav said energy, infrastructure development and making Biratnagar the provincial capital were the common agenda of all voters but for Madhesi voters, constitution amendment, identity and inclusion were the top agendas they wanted their candidates to address.