Sunday, 25 February, 2024

'Our budget focus is on COVID treatment, control'


Sainamaina Municipality is a historically significant municipality located in the northwest of Rupandehi District. This municipality is located about 15 kilometres north of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, in the foothills of the Chure range. The historically, religiously and culturally important Sainamaina region has also been included in the list of top 100 tourist destinations of Nepal by the federal government. The Rising Nepal’s Butwal correspondent Chhabi Lal Pandey talked to Mayor Chitra Bahadur Karki about how he is moving forward with the municipality’s development while COVID-19 rages on in the area and the country. 

What is the municipality doing to control the spread of COVID-19 in the area?

COVID-19 poses a high risk to Sainamaina Municipality and Rupandehi as a whole. To control the spread of the coronavirus, we have tightened the prohibitory order and take action against those found disobeying it. We have arranged Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and antigen testing for symptomatic people. We are resourcing the municipality’s only COVID-19 hospital to bring an end to infected residents needing to travel out of the town for treatment.
Meanwhile, we are also continuing with our development works by adopting all the necessary safety precautions.

All other local levels have been increasing the capacity of their COVID-19 hospitals. What has Sainamaina been doing?

We have been expanding the capacity of our COVID-19 Temporary Hospital at the Padmapani Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital, Sainamaina–1. A 50-bed hospital is fully operational there. With the number of infections continuing to rise, our focus is on rapidly upgrading the hospital.
Accordingly, we are adding seven Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and 20 High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds. We have started the process to procure additional health equipment. There are about 800 infected people in the municipality. We are constantly checking their health condition, providing counselling and doing what we can to boost their morale.

How have you been carrying out development works in the middle of the pandemic?

We have made arrangements so that the labourers working in the development projects can stay separate from the general population.
Work on the 55-kilometre Sainamaina Ring Road is underway and it might be completed next year. Similarly, work on the construction of 11 bridges within the ring road is also moving forward rapidly. We are confident that the under-construction Sainamaina Cricket Stadium will prove transformative for sports in the municipality.
Development must not stop while the battle against the coronavirus continues.

What will the upcoming fiscal year’s budget focus on?

It shall continue focusing on COVID-19 prevention, treatment and control. We have started the construction of a 50-bed hospital in the city. The coming budget will take this work forward. We will also prioritise the procurement of health materials.
In addition, we will review the work done so far and formulate plans for the future.

What projects has the municipality prioritised?

We have carried out many development projects simultaneously in the city. The municipality has worked to the best of its ability in the sector of road infrastructure and this is something that the people of the city have seen and experienced. Work on building a smart Sainamaina city is also about to start.
Similarly, we are building a museum to preserve the area’s archaeological artefacts in Bankatta, Sainamaina–1. A senior citizen meeting centre is also being constructed. Work on the construction of a waste processing centre is also underway to solve the city’s waste management problem. We are carrying out many activities in the areas of economic and social revival. Anyone who comes to Sainamaina can witness the changes occurring here.

Has the municipality focused on agriculture and education?

How can we not focus on agriculture in Sainamaina? To increase agricultural output, Sainamaina has distributed more agricultural implements than any other local level in the country. We have also worked to expand irrigation. We have emphasised promotional programmes to raise the living standard of livestock farmers. As the planting season is upon us, we have purchased rice seeds worth Rs. 1.3 million and have started distributing them to farmers.
We are also focused on improving the quality of education. Much has been done to improve the standard of community schools and link teaching and learning with information technology.