In Kaski, local representatives have little outcome to show from their trips abroadPokhara Mayor Man Bahadur GC has spent around two and half months on foreign trips, many of them for trivial conferences.
Three days after he landed in Pokhara from his ten-day-long China visit, Pokhara metropolis Mayor Man Bahadur GC on Tuesday flew to South Korea to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in what is GC’s second visit to Korea and 12th overseas since he assumed office two years ago.
GC’s series of foreign visits kicked off with a trip to South Korea in September 2017, when he participated at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) & Mayors’ Forum. In the subsequent months, the mayor visited Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Japan, Europe, the UK, and India.
The mayor has spent around two and a half months on foreign trips. His critics accuse him of flying abroad for trivial conferences that yield little return, arguing that he accepts invitations by non-governmental organisations.
“During early days, we went abroad despite knowing that we wouldn’t be getting or learning anything significant,” GC had told the Post before flying to South Korea. “But this visit would be beneficial for Pokhara.”
The recent China visit was recommended by the prime minister, wherein the mayor and deputy mayor attended training sessions at Kunming in China’s Yunnan province. The sessions entailed discussions on finance management, urban development and mutual investment prospects.
The mayor said even though the training was good, the discussions were not that fruitful given the differences in social, economic and political scenarios between the two countries.
But GC claimed the current visit to South Korea will be fruitful. During the visit, he said, he will meet the representatives from The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), which is cooperating with Pokhara metropolis for a master plan concerning the city’s public transportation.
GC said that since he has already delegated power to his deputy, Manju Devi Gurung, there won’t be any shortcomings in the metropolis’ operations.
“It won’t matter if I’m not at the office for a few days,” he said. “All the expenses of my trip will be borne by the organisers.”
Kapil Mani Dahal, an assistant professor of Political Science, said that while foreign trips by people’s representatives are not essentially wrong, the elected officials should let the public know the outcomes of those visits.
“It’s wrong to visit foreign countries only for the sake of it,” Dahal said. “It is the responsibility of the officials to publicise the outcomes of the visits. Otherwise, the visits will not amount to good governance.”
Last year, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration had issued a directive to the people’s management to manage their foreign visits, according to which the ministry will only endorse such visits that directly contribute to the social and economic growth of local levels.
While Mayor GC is in South Korea, the chief of Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality Karna Bahadur Gurung is in China. Gurung went to Hangzhou in China on July 26 to participate in a workshop on the utilisation of bamboo for infrastructure development.
Even though Krishna Kumari Dawadi, the deputy chief, has assumed Gurung’s position in his absence, locals say the chief’s absence has affected the local unit’s operations.
“There have been no difficulties in running operations. But I’ve been feeling some pressure while assuming two positions,” Dawadi said. “The monitoring of certain projects has lessened, which would have been more effective in the chief’s presence.”