‘I’ll make Kathmandu a better place to live’CPN-UML’s Bidhya Sundar Shakya was elected the mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Sunday. With Shakya’s victory, the KMC has got its new mayor after 15 years.
CPN-UML’s Bidhya Sundar Shakya was elected the mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Sunday.
With Shakya’s victory, the KMC has got its new mayor after 15 years. The local body election was last held in 1997 when the UML’s Keshav Sthapit was elected the mayor.
Shakya defeated his nearest rival Raju Raj Joshi of the Nepali Congress by over 19,000 votes in the final results of the local level elections held on May 14.
Shakya garnered 64,913 votes. Anup Ojha spoke to Shakya about his plans. Excerpts:
How does it feel to be elected as the mayor of Kathmandu, the largest metropolis and also the capital city?
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 the metropolis in my capacity as the mayor.
With my work, I won’t let down my party members and the public. I will coordinate with all the stakeholders to make Kathmandu a better place to live.
I want to thank all the voters who made my victory possible.
How do you plan to move ahead now?
The result has just been announced. I still need to hold discussions with my party representatives.
Apart from that, candidates from other political parties have also received a good number of votes.
So I need to work in coordination with other parties for the development of our city.
What will the metropolis 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, which people all over the country can proudly call their own.
I want to turn Kathmandu into a place where people from both within and without feel proud about the city.
In your election manifesto, you talk about cable car, mono and metro rails, and electric vehicles to manage the transportation system. How will this all materialise?
I included these things in the manifesto as they are the need of the hour. Of course, I will make it happen.
Mono and metro rail are not only my priority; you can find them on the priority lists of other candidates too. So we should work together to make this project a success.
Kathmandu has become like a city of dust and garbage. There are a lot of challenges in managing traffic jam, water scarcity, drainage problem, and squatters. How are you going to tackle these?
People have elected me because they trust me. Making the city beautiful is not my single agenda.
If you look at the manifesto of the Nepali Congress, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and other political parties, their agenda is to manage the garbage, increasing pollution, and so on.
Yesterday, I had to go with my party’s agendas alone. But today, I have common agendas and plans of all the parties. Hopefully, I won’t have inconvenience in solving these problems.
What would be your first priority?
I have already announced 101 works, in the 100 days of my office. I will take the oath on Wednesday (May 31) as announced by the chief election commissioner. We will announce our further plans after a meeting with the Nepali Congress.
It is common knowledge that there are lot of malpractices within the metropolis, such as corruption and delays in service delivery. How will you respond to this?
This is not only your question. When we were campaigning door to door before the vote, many people raised this issue.
Besides the mayor and the deputy mayor, all the 32 wards have now got their elected representatives.
It’s the public who elected them; now they have to be accountable for any malpractices.
We will watch the ward representatives and our staffers, and there will be people to keep us under surveillance. Besides, our works will be more transparent and people-centric.
Some of the heritage sites destroyed in the earthquakes carry a great deal of historical and archaeological value. Some of them are Unesco World Heritage Sites. The renovation and reconstruction work is sluggish. What are you going to do about this?
The heritage sites in the metropolis are not under the purview of the KMC. Some of them are being rebuilt by the Department of Archaeology, some under the Guthi Sansthan and a few others by the National Reconstruction Authority.
However, we will coordinate with all the authorities for speedy reconstruction of these monuments.