GP Koirala remembered

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By Our Correspondent,Bharatpur, Mar. 23:The people of Chitwan still remember former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala fondly for the big projects he implemented in the district. Koirala, who was also the president of the Nepali Congress party until his death in 2010, is credited with establishing the BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital. 

Krishna Lal Sapkota, founder president of the Association of District Development Committees, said that, by establishing the hospital in Chitwan, Koirala eliminated the need for cancer patients to travel to India or other countries for treatment.

"It is a model cancer hospital in all of South Asia and people from all over the country as well as abroad come here for affordable care," he said. 

A tertiary cancer hospital located in Bharatpur, the district headquarters of Chitwan, BP Koirala Cancer Hospital was built with aid from the Chinese government. It began offering Out Patients Department (OPD) services from 1995 and began treating inpatients from 1999. 

Similarly, when he was the prime minister, Koirala also led the initiative to move the Padampur Village Development Committee from inside the Chitwan National Park to the forested land near Jutpani. He relocated the settlement after constructing all the necessary infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads. 

Baburam Puri, chairman of the then Padampur Relocation Committee, called Koirala a "fearless leader" and said that the village would never have been moved without him. Under the relocation, nearly 2,400 households were shifted from inside the national park to a safer area in today's Kalika Municipality. "This was no easy task. But Koirala accomplished it in a planned and systematic manner," Puri said.

Many other projects such as the construction of a dam on the Rapti River to protect the people of eastern Chitwan from its annual floods, building of a bridge over the river at Madi to facilitate safe crossing and the construction of the Madi-Thori Postal Road also started under his prime ministership. Late Koirala is also praised for getting the College of Medical Sciences established in the district. Koirala also led efforts to establish the nation's largest dairy project in the district. However, it did not become successful. The land purchased and the infrastructure constructed for the project lie unattended to this day. 

Koirala led the country as the prime minister five times from the restoration of democracy in 1990 to his death. He collaborated with other democratic parties to bring the rebelling Maoists to mainstream politics and oversaw the country's transition from a Hindu monarchy to a republic.  Various programmes were organised in Chitwan and elsewhere to mark Koirala's Memorial Day on Tuesday. In Nepalgunj, fruits were distributed to over 150 patients of Fattebal Eye Hospital. 

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