Duduwa Rural Municipality in Banke district is gradually transforming itself from one of the least developed local levels of western Nepal to a prosperous one. Chairman Narendra Chaudhary says that the local government has succeeded in making the people feel its presence through its work. Our Nepalgunj correspondent Siraj Khan recently talked with Chaudhary about the development works being carried out in Duduwa Rural Municipality. Excerpts:
What have you done for the development of the rural municipality since your election?
After our election, we studied the overall situation of the rural municipality and found that absolutely no work had been done in many sectors. The state of education, health, agriculture and other physical infrastructure was deplorable. Seeing this, we developed plans and systematically worked in all these sectors. As a result, a lot has changed now. The number of students in schools has greatly increased and parents feel comfortable sending their children to public schools now. Our health posts have become a sort of mini hospitals. Laboratories have also come into operation. People no longer have to go to Nepalgunj or India to receive health services.
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?
People have felt the presence of the local government because of our work and that is what I take as the biggest achievement. Our top priority has been to deliver quality healthcare to the people. We have distributed health cards to our residents and have arranged for free treatment. People have been able to receive health services in their own villages. Guardians have been able to send their wards to good schools. The ‘Girl Education Programme’ has been implemented for the education of daughters. Moreover, we go to people’s houses to give them their social security allowance. We also go door-to-door to register vital events like birth, death and marriage. We are very satisfied as we have been able to take the government to people’s doorsteps. We have distributed health cards to our residents and have arranged for free treatment.
Duduwa holds a great potential in agriculture. What is being done to develop that sector?
Duduwa is considered an agricultural pocket area, which is why we have paid special attention for the development of this sector. Most of the vegetables, especially potatoes, in the rural municipality are grown in Hariminiya. But due to a lack of storage facilities, farmers are forced to sell their produce at a cheap price. To mitigate this, we have called a tender to construct a cold store with a capacity of 600 metric tonnes. Apart from this, we have launched special programmes to increase the production of paddy, maize, wheat and mustard. We will also soon start to produce seeds in the rural municipality. For that, we have built a 500-metric-tonne warehouse and have installed a grading machine. The produced seeds will be used locally as well as sold outside. It will end our dependence on India for seeds.
What are you doing to control the floods that afflict the rural municipality every year?
The Rapti River floods many areas of the rural municipality every year. The local level cannot solve this problem alone so we have been asking the provincial and central governments for help. We need to construct embankments to control the floods. The federal government needs to pay attention to this. Meanwhile, we are engaged in relocating flood-prone villages and providing relief and shelter to flood victims. We have also been conducting awareness programmes about the flood and erosion.
What is your plan for the rural municipality?
Even though we neighbour Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolitan City, Duduwa has lagged behind in terms of development. So, our goal is to move forward in such a way that Duduwa’s development matches the level of Nepalgunj. We want to make Duduwa a model rural municipality. Our vision is to make the rural municipality economically prosperous by developing animal husbandry, agriculture and industry.
What are you doing to control COVID-19 here?
Banke district has become a COVID-19 hotspot again. We are once more under a lockdown. We are at a high risk from the virus because we border both Nepalgunj and India. We realise this and are prepared for a difficult situation that we may have to deal with in the coming days. We are conducting awareness campaigns because the more aware people are, the safer they will be against the disease. We have also begun setting up isolation centres and are continuously working to strengthen our health institutions.
Would you like to say something at the end?
I would like to praise everyone for helping us in our effort to build a developed and prosperous Duduwa. However, we still need more support. I express my immense gratitude to the people for their assistance and urge one and all to continue supporting the local government. There is still a lot to be done.