EDITORIAL: Blowing own trumpet

Wrong to say govt tenure so far is a write-off, but PM will do well if he focuses on governance instead of counting achievements

Never has there been a more confident government in Nepal in the last more than two and a half decades than the incumbent one led by KP Oli. The Oli government also has the backing of two Madhes-based parties, making his government enjoy nearly a two-thirds majority in Parliament. When Oli returned to power in February riding on the promise of “stability for prosperity”, there were high hopes; and challenges abound. Hopes because stability had been attained after the much-awaited elections that capped the long-drawn transition and challenges because the he had his plate full, for the promises his party had made during the election campaigns. It has now been more than six months for the new government. For a government which is set to govern for a full five-year term, this is but a small period.

Development and prosperity are a long-term process; it takes time to achieve them. That said, people’s expectations from the government are certainly high. When members of general public expect something from the government, they mean some tangible progress with regards to issues that are directly linked with their daily lives. But hardly has anything been achieved to that end. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Oli on Monday released a 74-page report, outlining what all his government has achieved in the last five months. The list is long which includes issues ranging from crackdown on transport syndicate to action against gold smugglers to construction of international airports to purchase of new planes, to name a few.

But there seems to be something amiss. The PM releasing a report listing his government performance is rather puzzling. It’s wrong to say the government’s tenure so far is a write-off. The government has made progress in some areas. The government does deserve praise for some good moves it has made — for example action against transport syndicate. But isn’t it a fact people elect the government of their choice so that it does good for them. The PM’s self-praising report also comes amid the continuous refrain from the ruling party leaders that the Nepali Congress has not been letting the government work. It must be noted that never was there any weaker opposition than the one we have today. It appears the PM released the report only “to defend” his government’s work. Today’s government is strong enough to overcome all the challenges, and hardly is there any need for it to feel threatened when it continues to do good work in the larger interest of the people and the nation. The parties in opposition do criticise the government, and that’s how parliamentary democracy functions. Prime Minister Oli will certainly do well if he focuses on governance instead of counting achievements. In the meantime, PM Oli’s advisers also do well if they give him prudent advices, rather than pushing him to come out and defend the government’s works. The hopes raised by the new government are not dead yet. Good governance, accountability and transparency have to be felt by people for a government to make achievements. Oli must focus on those areas as his government strives to achieve development and prosperity.

Threat of landslips

The landslides triggered by incessant rainfall for the past week have increased the chances of blocking the Budhiganga River at Dwari, the confluence of Budhiganga and Triveni River in Bajura. The debris falling into the river at several places has narrowed the channel of the swollen Budhiganga. It has posed threats to the settlements downstream, including Sanfebagar bazaar, and Sanfe-Martadi road section. In view of the danger posed by the possible blockage of the river, the Accham district administration has kept security personnel on high alert. It has also asked locals to stay away from river banks.

Landslide is a natural phenomenon that mostly occurs during monsoon. It cannot be controlled completely. But the extent of landslides can be minimised if development activities are carried out in a planned way. Recent reports from the mid- and far-western hilly regions have blamed the haphazard road constructions for the increased landslides. The rural roads are built without carrying out detailed geological studies. Local and provincial governments must stop constructing unplanned roads to protect hills from landslides and to protect people from natural disasters.