Narayan Prasad Ghimire
JHAPA, Dec 1: When monsoon arrives, panic and fear surround the hearts of people living nearby Ratuwa River in Jhapa. Rains give them sleepless nights. The problem is not new, but the people in the settlement have been going through the same fear for years. The river which is quieter these days turns violent in the rainy season and enters the human settlements driving residents away from their home.
People residing in the settlements nearby Ratuwa river wish to see the construction of embankment to it. But when? They do not know. They are disappointed to see political parties and leaders raising their issue as an election agenda before elections, but never living up to their promises to do something to control the river that displaces a large score of people every year.
They feel more pain as they come to realize that the political leaders, whom they elect and send to the capital in expectations that they would do something in respect to their ballots to address their problem, just played with their sentiments and cheated on them. Their high sounding words heard in every election campaign were just for garnering votes.
“It has been over a decade since one popular face in the national politics promised to take measures to control the flooding from the river, but he never realized the need to live up to his promise,” said the 46-year-old Anil Rasaili, a resident of Kamal Rural Municipality who runs a shop near highway, “Our problem is as it is.”
The people here are fed up with all political parties and their leaders and their promises. The unemployment problem is highly prevalence in the settlements, pushing some youths to drugs abuse. Political leaders just give them false assurances, they never think it necessary to take initiations to establish industry and create employment opportunities for them.
Saraswoti Giri backed Rasaili’s remarks and said, “Leaders never talk about small thing. They talk about the development of nation, but forget their promises after the election.”
Giri has complains over journalists as well. She expressed her discontent over journalists failing to expose their issues to public/media. People of the village– that lies to the north of the East-West Highway in Jhapa– are living with numorous problems only to be desperately waiting for some committed leaders to realize their situation and make some concrete efforts to solve them.
Raj Kumar Halawai who runs a tea shop in this rural municipality opines that Jhapa would probably be in the forefront in terms of development provided that laying a foundation is considered to be development.
They are surprised to see and hear tactics of leaders of left and democratic alliances to woo the voters. The leaders who are frequently seen in their localities with ‘false’ promises of better life for them before and during the election, stop caring about their issues once the election is over- this is what people feel here. People here who do not any know political ism and are engaged in politics are gripped by day to day problems.
Senior citizen Bed Kumari Ghimire of Chandragadhi, Jhapa shares that this time she has decided to vote a leader who is literally committed to addressing her problem she has been facing every day since many years.
“A flock of wild elephant passes through my house yard early in the morning. I cannot go down to the ground floor before 6:00 am, sometimes, I have to cry for help from security people, they sound the siren to chase wild animals away. But our leaders never talk about such problem we are facing every day.”
Ramji Dahal of Birtamod sharing about problems of his town said,” Condition of roadways is very poor. Roads are badly damaged. It may not be a real problem for visitors (like political leaders) but is a major issue for the locals.”
Likewise, inundation is another problem of the people of Birtamod. Not only geographical location (low land) is responsible for this problem, but haphazard land plotting done by land mafia has also fueled the problem. Flooding from the Biring, Aduwa, Kankaimai and Ninda Rivers displace many people here, rendering them homeless.
Youth leader Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, CPN-UML Chair and former prime minister KP Sharma Oli, CPN (Maoist Center) leader Ram Karki, RPP leader Rajendra Lingden are in the election fray for the federal parliament from the district, but we have to wait to see how they will address the issues of locals here.
The second and final phase of the elections to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies is taking place on December 7 in 45 districts including Jhapa.