Kismat Kumar Kakshapati is the chairman of Khajura Rural Municipality in Banke, Lumbini Province. Kakshapati, who was active in social service before entering politics, was elected from the CPN-UML. Our Banke correspondent Govinda Sharma talked with him about the development works being carried out in Khajura.
How have you worked since assuming office?
We were busy with various kinds of interactions and seminars and in formulating laws and rules in our first year. Despite that, we were able to make some progress in the construction of physical infrastructure. We also did important work in education, health and agriculture. We provided smart boards, laptops and projectors to basic and secondary schools to implement ICT in education. In health, we organise regular door-to-door health camps for senior citizens. In agriculture, we have introduced seed and fertiliser subsidy programmes.
How have the development works been taken forward?
We began implementing several pride projects from our second year. As a part of our programme of blacktopping 16 kilometres of roads every year, we have tarred about 50 kilometres so far. The Madan Bhandari Multipurpose Hall, being built at a cost of Rs. 70 million, is nearly complete. The rural municipality has partnered with the provincial government to construct a cold storage for eggs, meat and fruits at a cost of Rs. 90 million. It will have a capacity of 1,500 metric tonnes and will be built on a Bigha of land. Similarly, we are establishing an industrial village on 21 Bighas of land at a cost of Rs. 320 million. The area has been fenced and the road to reach there has been blacktopped. For sports, we have the Shukra Stadium in Sitapur and are also building a sports village. The Lumbini Provincial University is being constructed in ward no. 8. There are two model schools for agriculture and engineering. The guardians feel that the quality of education has improved in the rural municipality since our election.
How much priority have you given to the health and agriculture sectors?
We have prioritised them very much. There are health posts in all the wards. A 15-bed hospital is currently being constructed at the Khajura Primary Health Centre. It will come into operation in a year and a half. Khajura also holds great potential in agriculture. We have allocated Rs. 50 million for the sector this year. We have also been distributing agricultural implements.
How many of your election commitments have you fulfilled?
We had made 101 commitments to the people during the election and have, so far, fulfilled 65 of them. My team and I are working day and night to fulfil the remaining promises too. We are committed to fulfilling all our pledges.
What are your plans for the future?
We are going to the public with the details of all the work we have done so far. We will listen to the people’s grievances and address everything we can immediately. For the rest, we will include them in the policies and programmes and the budget of the coming fiscal year. We are working to fulfil all 101 of our promises.
What is the status of the rural municipality’s green city project?
We want to make Khajura prosperous within 15 years. For this, we have formulated a 15-year periodical plan based on the 25-year periodic plan of the federal government and the 20-year periodical plan of the provincial government. All the pride projects are moving forward smoothly . Green City is the concept of a well-organised city where we have particularly stressed the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. The World Food Programme has allocated US$ 175,000 for a pilot project which will be implemented within a year. Khajura Rural Municipality is also set to introduce a programme for agriculture and animal husbandry at a cost of Rs. 50 million. The programme will be run in collaboration with Heifer with the rural municipality’s own resources.
What are you doing to restore Khajura’s old glory?
We have the Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital here. I myself am its founding chairman and I can say that this hospital will be fully operational with all the services within a year. This, in addition to other projects like the green city and Lumbini Provincial University, will put Khajura in the national and international spotlight once again. What about the campaign to make Khajura a metropolitan city? The metropolitan is the dream of our province’s chief minister. We feel that establishing three metropolitan cities by merging Butwal and Bhairahawa, Tulsipur and Ghorahi and Nepalgunj, Kohalpur and Khajura is a good initiative but we must discuss it with the people. We are positive but we will have to consult with the citizens before giving a definitive answer.
What is the rural municipality’s coordination with the provincial and federal governments like?
We are still in the early stages of federalism so there is a lot left to be done. We have difference with the higher governments on some issues and we discuss and cooperate on some others.
The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise once again. What is the rural municipality doing to prepare for a possible second wave?
We are conducting awareness programmes. We are preparing for quarantine and isolation facilities. We have learned a lot from the first wave and have started mobilising resources to avoid a difficult situation this year.