Its natural beauty and vibrant culture attract thousands of tourists to Bandipur Rural Municipality every year. Its chairman Purna Singh Thapa, elected in 2017 from the Maoist Centre, wants to cash in on this and utilise tourism for the development of the rural municipality. Our Tanahun correspondent Amar Raj Naharki talked to him about his plans for the prosperity of Bandipur. Excerpts:
How have you found your time in the office?
I have found it very challenging but also full of opportunities. We have also worked for the betterment of Bandipur and its people. The people put their faith in us when they elected us and we have tried our best to not let them down.
What would you say have been your achievements as the chairman of Bandipur Rural Municipality?
One of our major achievements was the formulation of a 20-year master plan for Bandipur. If all of our work is according to this plan then we will never have to look back with regret. We have focused on the development of tourism, agriculture, education, health, cooperatives and infrastructure for the prosperity of the rural municipality. We want to make Bandipur a centre of tourism in the country.
Bandipur holds the potential to be the tourism hub of Gandaki Province. The Mukundashwari Wall (popularly known as the mini Great Wall), Siddha Cave, the old city, Bandipur Cable Car, Paragliding, Zip Flyer, Lake Park, the glass view tower and the rock garden are all major tourist attractions of the country and we have started working for these projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
We have also made and enacted many local laws, regulations and procedures.
How do you plan to improve the local people’s livelihoods?
We are working to modernise agriculture. Even if I do say myself, we have absolutely revolutionised the practice of land consolidation. We want to establish the hilly regions of our rural municipality as a zone for fruit production. We have built many commercial agriculture centres and are trying to promote off-season cultivation. Bandipur is not only self-sufficient in milk, meat and eggs but has also become an exporter of these items. Since the very beginning, our focus has been to increase agricultural production and then market those products to improve the local people’s livelihoods.
What have you done to improve the quality of education and health here?
We have succeeded in establishing model schools in Bandipur. We have built hostels for school students. We have placed special emphasis on the reformation of basic schools. We have also established basic health units in all the wards. We are upgrading Bandipur Hospital and making it a 50-bed health institution. The hospital can now handle minor operations on its own. We have also set up a lab with X-ray and ECG facilities at the Dharampani Health Post. We have also expanded our ambulance service.
What has the rural municipality done for the development of physical infrastructure?
Bandipur has taken a huge leap in infrastructure development. The Dumre-Bandipur strategic road has been widened and tarred. We have connected all the settlements with the road network. Important foot trails have been constructed. We have supplied drinking water and electricity to almost all the villages.
Furthermore, we have built 11 homestays and nine kilometres of cycle lanes. All the wards have their own buildings and playgrounds. We also built a ring road around Bandipur and are working to eradicate unemployment from Bandipur within 20 years.
I request everyone to come together for the development of Bandipur and help us realise our aspiration of “Prosperous Bandipur, Happy Bandipur.”