By PR Pradhan
Where is Vidyasunder Shakya, mayor of the Kathmandu Metropolis City, we have not seen him since we casted our votes for him during the last local election. What has happened to his election commitments, we don’t know. We just see potholes in the roads, muddy during the rains and dusty during sunny days. The huge amount of garbage beside the roads, demolished Dharahara, dried Ranipokhari and a dismantled Kastamandap in this historical and cultural city, don’t seem to wake up the mayor and his officials in the Metropolis Office.
Reports state that due to the bad condition of roads, the Gokarna retreat venue for the VVIPs participating at the BIMSTEC summit has been cancelled.
Potholes in the roads from the Tribhuvan International Airport to Soaltee Hotel and other city areas are being repaired on the eve of the BIMSTEC Summit and that too during the rainy days.
As the Birendra International Convention Hall is occupied by the federal parliament, for the first time, the BIMSTEC Summit is being organised at a hotel, that too owned by former king Gyanendra. At least, the hotel is capable to organize such an international summit!
To recall, for the first time in Nepal, the SAARC summit was organised at the then Royal Nepal Academy in Kamladi. The then King Birendra had given the responsibility of preparation of the summit to the then Royal Highness Gyanendra and the Royal Highness, under his direct presence and supervision for months, and they had made ready the summit venue in time. I mean to say, special consideration was given to hold the summit in Kathmandu. Preparation works, including widening of roads, were started more than a year before the summit. As such, in a grand manner, the SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu.
After the summit, considering the need of an international conventional hall, under the then King Birendra’s special initiative, the present international convention hall was constructed with the support of China. For the second time, the SAARC summit was held at the King Birendra International Convention Hall. The venue, where the international convention hall is located today, was the Royal Nepal Army Barrack and the SAARC headquarters at Tridevi Marg was the tourism minister’s secretariat. When Nepal was declared the headquarters of SAARC, the government provided the venue belonging to the tourism ministry to SAARC. For years, the SAARC Secretariat has been demanding for a new venue as it has become congested now, the government has not been able to manage a new venue for SAARC.
Our Tribhuvan International Airport was considered as the best airport in the SAARC region during the time when Nepal had hosted the SAARC summit for the first time. The then Indian prime minister Rajeev Gandhi was highly impressed by seeing the unique brick-built airport. How is the state of this international airport today, one doesn’t need to describe it. So far, the only international airport has become a hub for gold and fake currency smuggling.
Months earlier to the SAARC summit, cars for the VVIPs were managed, not rented but purchased. All things were planned, designed and completed on time.
Look at the mess today! Indian prime minister Modi is bringing his own car and special security force for his security. The government is bringing bulletproof cars from India that too on rent for other VVIPs. These are the differences that we have witnessed during the monarchial rule and today’s republican democracy!
Shakya alone is not responsible for the deteriorating state of this capital city. He is just a individual pushed into this messy situation. Big construction contractors, who have the capacity to go to the bedroom of those supreme leaders – two chairmen of CPN – are responsible and also subjected to be punished for not completing the construction works on time. But, they are above the law due to their special relations with the two chairmen of the ruling party.
Let’s assume, this is the journey towards “prosperity”!
On the eve of BIMSTEC summit
By PR Pradhan