Waiting, waiting

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May 25, 2016-

It’s been more than a year since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the country. Due to the slow pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation, the country’s cultural heritage still lies in ruins, and millions of poor people are forced to live under tarpaulins and zinc sheets. They have endured the shivering cold of the winter and now they are sweltering in the summer sun. Last year, after the devastating earthquake, politicians hyped it as a chance for a new beginning in the country’s development. Earthquake victims were given high hopes with sweet words. A Cabinet meeting held after the disaster decided to make various plans to rehabilitate the quake affected people in well managed settlements. But the plans remained just words.

After some months, the country faced an embargo and it caused a huge economic loss and turmoil. The economic blockade by the southern neighbour pushed the country further back when it was trying to recover from the earthquake. The days during and after the embargo have been like glittering days for dons and black marketeers. They earned lots of money taking advantage of possibly the worst situation in the country’s history. I remember those long lines in front of fuel depots and gasoline stations. All the wait used to go in vain when one didn’t get the amount of fuel promised by the government or had to return empty-handed. The queues at LPG stores still haunt me. But the the so-called dons with large bodies and earrings used to get a full tank of gasoline and a house full of gas cylinders with no difficulty. Regarding the people with political connections, I don’t have to say more. 

The situation is still the same. Black marketeers seem to be enjoying never-ending days of bliss. Prices of various household products are rising uncontrollably and fuel shortages don’t look like going away. Even amid this situation, our prime minster seems to be trying to solve all the issues psychologically with humour and sarcasm. But I wonder how humour will turn rubble into a permanent shelter, and broken cultural heritage and monuments into their former state. I assume the problem should be solved with proper planning and immediate action. 

It’s been more than six months since the promulgation of the Constitution that gave the Nepali people hopes for a bright and prosperous future. For the past 70 years, political leaders have been talking about the need for a constitution written by the people’s representatives. A new Constitution has now been promulgated, and even though it wasn’t able to contain the full aspirations of the people, I fear for how many more years they will keep on talking about it. My fear grows when I realise that no documented plans for the sustainable development of the country have been made. Billions in donations lie unspent. Mishandling remains unknown. 

DRISHAN DAHAL

Published: 25-05-2016 08:04

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