Dharan is considered a unique town due to its cultural, social and geographical features. In the recently concluded second phase of the local level elections, Tara Subba, CPM-UML candidate garnered maximum votes and was elected as the mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City. On Monday, he assumed office. Rohit Rai of Republica presents experts of what Subba said about his plan and policies for developing the city.
How do you feel as the mayor of this sub-metropolitan city?
Held after two decades, local level elections have changed the mood and scenario of the entire country. This naturally gives a good feel. I am filled with both a sense of happiness and responsibility. There are challenges ahead.
What kind of challenges do you see?
There are small to big challenges. The local body has been devoid of local representatives for two decades. During the twenty years, many things have been messed up as the bureaucracy run the local bodies. It is hard to bring back the bureaucracy on the right track. They behave like leaders and have been assertive. And next challenge is, to work on par with the mandate. Local body has received immense power. It can formulate or introduce its own laws and provisions as well. So, management of all this is going to be hard.
How do you plan to develop Dharan?
We had publicized three projects before election. We cannot do all those at once. However, they would be done on priority basis. Resolving concerns of the slum community is a high priority. Then we would focus on promoting tourism, developing health and education facilities and conserving our culture. We have envisioned making Dharan a cultural city with decent facilities. We have also decided to upgrade the bus park in Bhanuchowk. There is also a plan for establishing a multicultural museum.
Squatters' have been demanding land ownership certificates. How will you address their demands?
During the election campaign we asked for their support with the promise of addressing their concerns. Now it's our turn to pay them back. We will keep the promises we made. There are three types of slum areas in Dharan. We are going to resolving their issues starting with the ones living in the worst condition. Some of the squatters live along the riverbanks and are living in relatively safer areas. We are planning to relocate them by providing better relocation options. We cannot just chase them away without giving any shelter. Those affected by Koshi project are also demanding land ownership certificates. Though that is not an easy matter, we will do whatever we can to address their concerns as well.
Some have opposed the proposed bus park upgrades. How are you planning to handle it?
There is no problem in upgrading the bus park. There is no real issue with the land. I believe that locals would be ready for it, or more than happy about it if we go for a better bus park. Some land owners might have issues, but I don't expect that it will affect our plans. However, I will look into their concerns even more seriously and take decisions accordingly.
Feasibility report for constructing a new airport says that it will require around 93 bigas of land. What are your plans for it?
It will be very difficult for the sub-metropolitan city to avail required resources, including land, for constructing the airport. So, this project shall be included in the national project and initiatives will be taken to ensure that it is on the government's priority list. Or else, that would remain just a dream. Earlier, a survey was conducted for constructing a smaller airport in Dharan. But if the people want a bigger airport, we will have to make it a national level project.
How are you planning to curb corruption in development related projects?
Corruption and poor governance is a serious problem. We have understood it very well and therefore good governance and transparency in everything we do will be our major concern. We are going to track things very minutely. Yes, members have spent a lot in election. But, let no one think that they would earn from their post and cover the cost. Coming to power does not mean filling one's own pocket.