(Interview) "I plan to build Kathmandu as cultural hub"

  • 'Development in coordination with other parties'

May 28, 2017-CPN-UML’s Bidhya Sundar Shakya has been elected as the mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) on Sunday. With Shakya’s victory, the KMC has got its new mayor for the first time after 15-year.  The last local body election was held in 1997 when CPN-UML’s Keshav Sthapit was elected as a mayor. This time Shakya defeated his nearest rival candidate, Raju Raj Joshi of Nepali Congress (NC), by over 19,000 votes in the final counting result of the local level polls held on May 14.  Shakya garnered 64,913 votes.  The Kathmandu Post reporter Anup Ojha spoke to Shakya about his election victory and his future plans after being elected as the mayor of KMC.

You have been elected as a mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), the largest metropolis and also the Capital City of Nepal. How do you feel?

I am very happy and this is a great opportunity for me. Now I feel a lot of responsibilities upon my shoulder. I will make use of every opportunity for the development of metropolis in my capacity as a mayor.  With my work, I won’t let down my party members and the public. I will coordinate with each of the stakeholders in making Kathmandu a better place to live.  I want to thank all my voters who made my victory possible.

How do you plan to move ahead now?

The result has just been announced today. I still need to hold discussions with my party representatives. Apart from that, candidates from other political parties have also received good votes.  So I need to work in coordination with other political parties and strive for the development of our city. 

After your election, how would Kathmandu city be like in the next five years?

My plan is to preserve the Newa culture and tradition. I am planning to build Kathmandu as a cultural city for which people all over the country can proudly call it as their own city. I want to turn Kathmandu into a place where people from both outside and inside the valley will feel proud about this city.

In your election manifesto, you had talked about cable car, mono and metro train, electric smart vehicles to manage unmanaged transportation system of the metropolis? How will you materialise this all? 

I included these things in my manifesto as these infrastructures are the need of our city as of now. Of course, I will make it happen.  Mono and metro-rail are not only my priority; you can find them in the priority lists of other candidates too. Since these things have been included on the agenda of both winning and losing party’s list, we should work together to make this project success.

Kathmandu has now become most polluted city; it’s like a capital of dust and garbage? There are a lot of challenges such as managing the traffic jam, water scarcity, drainage problem, problem of squatters, how are you going address all these problems at once? 

People have elected me because they trust me. Making the city beautiful is not my single agenda. If you look at the manifesto of Nepali Congress, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and other political parties, their agenda is to manage the garbage, the increasing pollution, drainage system, solve the scarcity of water, traffic jam and squatters problem. Yesterday, I had to walk taking my party’s agendas alone, but today, I have common agendas and plans of all the political parties. Hopefully, I won’t have inconvenience in solving all these problems.

What would be your first priority?

I have already announced to complete 101 works, in 100 days of my work at office.  I will be taking oath on Wednesday (May 31) as announced by the chief election commissioner. We will further announce our plans after meeting with the Nepali Congress.   

What do you think are the challenges for you to face now?

There are many which I am ready to face and move ahead with. One is the management of the ongoing work of the KMC and another is the implementation of the constitution. The constitution has endorsed 22 rights for every municipality to govern it independently on its own initiative, so we need government’s help.

It is learnt that, there are lot of malpractices inside the metropolis, such as corruption and delay in work while giving service to the commoners. How are you going to address this problem?

This is not only your question. When we were conducting door to door campaign before elections, many people had raised this issue. It is not only the mayor and deputy mayor, now all the 32 wards have got their elected representatives. It's public who have elected them, now they have to be accountable for any malpractices such as corruption or bribery. We will keep the surveillance of ward representatives and our staffers, and there will be people to keep surveillance of us.  Apart from this, our work procedure will be more transparent and be people centric.

The 2015 earthquake has damaged and destroyed many heritage sites inside the metropolis. They carry a great historical and archaeological value. Some of them are enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but none of them have been reconstructed till date. The renovation and reconstruction work is sluggish.  How would address this problem?

The heritage sites that are in the metropolis are not under the ownership of the KMC. Some of them are being constructed under the Department of Archaeology, some under Guthi Sansthan and a few others by Nepal Reconstruction Authority.  However, we will coordinate with all these units, for the speedy reconstruction of these monuments. 

Published: 28-05-2017 16:13

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