MPs have no time for sanitation meet

Kathmandu, November 23:

Out of 330 members of the parliament, only one had time to participate in a workshop organised today to sensitise them on water and sanitation issues.

None except Lila Nyaichayi of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party attended the workshop on the role of the state in water and sanitation promotion, organised here by the Federation of Water and Sanitation Users’ Group Federation (FEDWASUN).

Those who had promised to attend the programme Did not come to the venue. Others also either left the venue at the beginning of the programme or came in the end. Prakash Jwala, Dila Ram Acharya and CP Mainali left the hall when the screening of a video on water and sanitation situation in Nepal started.

When the presentations on the topic completed and the floor was open for discussion, Banshidhar Mishra, Phatik Bahadur Thapa Om Prasad Ojha and former minister Rajendra Pande and some others appeared.

Thapa admitted that the MPs could not stay in the workshop because they had to attend the interaction with the former US President Jimmy Carter, which was being organised at the same time.

One of the organisers said he had invited them in time and at least 20 of the MPs, including those from NC, UML and the Maoists, had confirmed their participation, but they remained absent without informing the organisers.

Addressing the event, director-general at the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Hari Prasad Sharma said that the government and non-governmental organisations have failed to raise awareness among the political leaders on water and sanitation and thus it remained in low priority in government policies despite its vital role in child mortality and water-borne diseases.

“Political commitment in water and sanitation is indispensable and collaborative attempt of all stakeholders is a prerequisite for meeting the national targets in water and sanitation,” he said.

Umesh Pandey, director of the Nepal Water for Health, urged the government and non-government organisations to make latrines accessible for the entire population, regardless of religion, caste, ethnicity and region.

Chairman of the FEDWASUN Rajendra Aryal said that the scenario of water and sanitation remains pathetic because the state has not yet accepted it as a fundamental human right.

Namaste Lal Shrestha, sanitation officer at the UNICEF, said collective working plan will be the strategy for international year of sanitation.