Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Janasambad Yatra, Naya Shakti Party Nepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 12: Naya Shakti Party Nepal Coordinator Dr Baburam Bhattarai is reaching from village to village taking stock of problems of the people after the formation of elected majority government, leading the party’s campaign ‘Janasambad Yatra’. Reporters’ Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala talked to Dr Bhattarai about his party’s campaign and the issues related to people and present government. Excerpts:

You are travelling from village to village across the country. What do people say?

The ‘Yatra’ we started on January 29 has arrived in Gorkha now. We have met millions of people. We have found that the country has not taken stride in development as per the hopes and aspiration of the people. The incumbent government is a majority government. Despite this, they have failed to work as per the mandate given by the people during the elections. People are not pleased with this.

What is the purpose of Janasambad Yatra?

I and my wife Hisila Yami visited nine countries in Europe this year. We also visited the largest universities of the United States. During the tour, we took time to study where the world is today. Now, we are taking this campaign across the country to realize the true condition of Nepali people.

What have you found?

We have directly observed the daily life of women, indigenous people and dalits. For example, we recently visited Kami gaun in Dhading district. There are around 200 people living in 20 houses. They neither have land nor jobs. Their living condition is poor in comparison to others. Similar is the condition in other districts as well.

Why would you say Kavrepalanchowk should be the capital of Province 3?

Federalism should be structured paying close attention to culture and geography of the country. Nepal’s federal structure should have addressed the multi-language and multi-ethnicity. If the layout of federalism and the capital of a province is fixed based on the population, it will fail. We should have formed 10 provinces instead of 7, based on language and majority ethnic groups. For example, Gandaki Province should have been named Tamuwan.

Have you reached Budi Gandaki area? Will Budi Gandaki Hydroelectricity Project complete in time?

The government announced infrastructure tax on petroleum products to build the 1200 MW hydel project, and thus have collected 30 billion rupees so far. We could have developed the project with domestic investment in seven years. But they have made this project a source a commission. The compensation distribution program has not completed yet. I am not sure if this project completes in time.

Do you think Oli government will not be able to complete the project?

I don’t blame anybody. But one of the major problems is that many political leaders hurl into commission game when they reach the power. Not only Budi Gandaki, but it is also the tragedy Nepal Airlines Corporation’s wide-body plane purchase and Ncell scam. Unless the institutionalized corruption is eradicated to the root, nothing will be achieved. For that, Judiciary and CIAA should be made powerful.

How do you view the works done by the Oli government?

Even though the incumbent government is an elected majority government, their performance is not different than the previous governments. The government has failed to bring rapid economic development, rule of law and prosperity during their one-year period. They have failed to score pass marks. Their performance is dismal.

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