A local unit in Tanahun employs locals hit hardest by lockdown in development worksBandipur Rural Municipality deems it more sustainable to provide job opportunities to the locals than providing relief packages.
While most local units in the country are providing relief packages to impoverished families affected by the nationwide lockdown, a local unit in Tanahun has chosen to provide jobs to those hit hardest during the pandemic.
Bandipur Rural Municipality in Tanahun has created employment opportunities for those in need instead of directly providing them with relief packages. The local body has employed the needy families to construct the Mukundeshwari-Ramkot Cycle Lane and have advised them to maintain physical distance while at work.
“We deployed 26 people from Ward Numbers 2 and 3 last week to construct the cycle lane. The workers are chosen under the Prime Minister Employment Programme as per the list of unemployed people prepared by the rural municipal office,” said Sharan Singh Gurung, the programme coordinator of the Prime Minister Employment Programme in Bandipur.
The local unit had decided to construct a 5-km-long cycle lane to promote adventure tourism in Bandipur, one of the major tourist destinations in Gandaki Province. A budget of Rs 650,000 was allocated for the project in the current fiscal year. According to Gurung, each worker is provided a daily wage of Rs 700.
Khim Bahadur Thapa of Ramkot, who is working under the project, says that the work opportunity is far better than any relief packages.
“The rural municipality had provided some relief earlier. But how long would it be enough for my eight-member family? The opportunity to earn money is better than receiving relief that only lasts a couple of days,” said Thapa.
Dilmaya Rana of Ramkot is happy to have a job during these difficult times.
“I am happy that the rural municipality gave me work. It feels good to earn money to feed my family rather than waiting for someone to give us food,” said Rana. “I received relief packages twice but the foodstuff lasted for only 10 days.”
To create more job opportunities for the locals during the lockdown period, the rural municipality has also decided to start another development project. Purna Singh Thapa, the chairman of Bandipur Rural Municipality, said the local body will soon start the construction of another cycle lane from Bandipur to Chhimkeshwari hill.
“We will soon begin the project at the cost of around Rs 600,000. We will build the lane and plant saplings of various local fruits on its sides,” said the local unit chief. “The locals will be involved in this project too.”
“The rural municipality had twice distributed reliefs to the affected people. Various other social organisations have also conducted several relief distribution programmes. But that wasn’t a long term solution. Our people need jobs and money to run their households,” said chairman Thapa. According to him, Rs 100,000 has been issued to each ward to provide wages to those involved in the project. There are six wards in the local unit.
The rural municipality said it took preventive measures while carrying out development works keeping in view the possible spread of Covid-19.
“Our employees regularly monitor the workers to maintain physical distancing while on the job,” said Thapa.