Narulal Chaudhary is the mayor of Ghorahi Sub-Metropolitan City in Dang district. Our Dang correspondent Tika Bahadur Basnet sat down with Chaudhary and asked him about the ambitious promises he made to change the face of Ghorahi during the elections, the development works he has carried out so far and his plans for the future.
What were the past three years in the sub-metropolitan city like?
We spent the past three years working to make Ghorahi the best sub-metropolitan city in the country. The team of elected representatives that I led had many challenges and opportunities in front of them. We have been prioritising the opportunities over challenges while working.
What have been the main achievements of your tenure so far?
We have changed the face of Ghorahi in the past three years. We have established health facilities in all 19 wards. We have established ward offices in all 19 wards to impart services. We have also done exemplary work in the field of reservoir construction. So far, 25 reservoirs have been constructed. Roads connecting all the wards have been blacktopped. Tracks of various major roads in the sub-metropolitan area have been opened. At present, we are blacktopping the main roads of the rural areas. Many other roads are in the process of being pitched. All the projects under the Easy Dense Urban Roads Programme will be completed within this fiscal year. Our campaign to manage the sanitation of the market area has been successful to an extent. We are also currently building a gas plant to extract gas from garbage which will be completed and operations begun by January. We have achieved great results in the field of greenery promotion. We are working towards fulfilling the commitments we made during the elections. We have begun the process of making the city a child-friendly sub-metropolis. We have initiated various projects to provide sanitation and clean water to the people. The federal, State and local governments have put forward various plans. We have already provided clean drinking water to most of the areas. We have done many such works.
What do you plan to do in the rest of your term?
We have two more years to go. Therefore, we are moving forward with the goal of completing our plans. We are promoting the industries, trade and commerce, factories and other businesses here in order to create employment opportunities. We are coordinating with various organisations and stakeholders to motivate the youth and get them involved in various employment-oriented activities. We are also encouraging collective farming, goat rearing and other activities. At present, the farmers are engaged in buffalo and cow husbandry and beekeeping. Good work has also been done in the field of social security. The allowance has been increased by Rs. 1,000 in our time. We plan to make the social security allowance Rs. 5,000, in line with the Prime Minister’s commitments.
What impacts have the reservoirs had?
The reservoirs have multiple purposes. At first note, it may just seem like something to collect water, but it has many benefits. We are in a time of rapid urbanisation. Concrete structures are popping up everywhere. Rainwater is not seeping underground which, in turn, is depleting the underground water table. These manmade reservoirs are serving to recharge the groundwater. Dried up wells have started filling up again. Similarly, the reservoirs have also proved useful for irrigation. Farmers around the area will be able to irrigate their fields all the year round. The cisterns have an important role in environmental conservation as well. We have also started operating boats in the constructed reservoirs for the development of tourism. Now, hotels and shops will open which will provide direct employment to many young people. Moreover, many people have also been able to earn an income by using the reservoirs’ waters to farm fish.
Lumbini State has begun moving ahead with the construction of three metropolises. But one does not see any preparations made for that here?
The Chief Minister has presented a resolution to establish three metropolitan cities. We are working in line with the State government’s resolution to merge Ghorahi and Tulsipur sub-metros into one metropolitan city. The two sub-metropolises are collaborating on preparing a long-term plan for the merger. We are working for results rather than publicity.
What kind of a sub-metropolitan city do you dream to build?
First of all, we aspire to make Ghorahi a smart city. We also want to make it a green city. We have pledged to make the city self-sufficient in agriculture. We have dreamed of building an international airport here. All these works have begun. The roads that were in disrepair yesterday are being blacktopped today. Likewise, preservation works of the local temples and monuments have also started. Work is moving ahead to make Ghorahi a tourism centre. There are plans to do various works to improve the health sector. In the education sector, we have passed the teacher selection procedure. We are trying to formulate policies to improve the quality of education. We are placing special emphasis on training people to encourage micro-enterprises, promoting youth self-employment and developing tourism.
You come from a farming background. What benefits have the common farmers here been able to obtain under your mayorship?
We have insisted on ending subsistence farming and practising commercial agriculture. We are spreading awareness regarding this. Commercial agriculture is flourishing around the reservoirs we have built. We are encouraging farmers to take up business-oriented farming. Because of the efforts of the sub-metro, the farmers have been able to increase their income to some extent. Farmers here have utilised the irrigation facility and are taking up commercial farming. The city provides tools and grants to farmers engaged in commercial farming and animal husbandry. Fruits and pepper are being cultivated. We at the local level are taking initiatives to mechanise our agriculture. The State government has also been implementing its plan. Many farmers have begun using modern farming equipment. Overall, the farmers have seen their sources of income increase.
What have you done for the preservation and promotion of the Tharu language?
We have also had some achievements in the field of linguistic development. We have successfully made Tharu as one of the official languages for office work here. In order to make it easier for non-speakers to learn the Tharu language, we have planned to have Tharu as the language of instruction for courses in the basic level of schooling.
What role will people be able to see you in in the coming days?
We politicians are the servants of the people. I am in this position today because of the people. As the mayor, I have always worked in public interest. I am sure people must also be evaluating our work. The people are the ones who give roles to politicians. I shall be in whatever role the people of Ghorahi give me.