This is a follow up to my previous blog about ‘The Third Mountains and Beyond’ posted on May 30, 2015. On the blog, I had indicated that villages faraway from road heads and beyond the second valleys are often ignored by state agencies, while collecting information about the situation there, and because of the lack of information of the situation, the state fails to provide even essential services to people in need. This has been the story for more than half a century since we embarked on a planned development path. Consequently, a large part of Nepal still remains disconnected from the state and has remained in a very sorry state in terms of health, education and opportunities for economic development.
The point that I was trying to draw home was that the earthquake did not differentiate between the first and the third mountains. People in the third mountains have suffered even more because they are among the weakest of the Nepali society and hence will find it be very difficult to recover and re-establish from the ruins.
My speculation about state agencies not reaching these areas in the Third Mountains, unfortunately, came true. The government had constituted a technical team comprising of geologist, soil conservation expert, and experts from other relevant fields to collect information about the situation and assess the potential threat that the monsoon rains might bring in the district of Lalitpur, which has been badly damaged by the earthquake with landslides and cracks on the ground. The south part of the Lalitpur is mountainous and every valley makes the next mountain even more remote. The village of Thula Durling, which lies at the border between Lalitpur and Makawanpur, is the farthest from the district headquarter and probably a day’s walk from the nearest road head.
According to the news (snippet above) the technical team decided to return without visiting Thula Durlung, because they were running out of time to start writing the report from areas they visited in the first and the second mountains. Not a bad excuse because the team was given a limited time to submit the report, based on which the government can make a plan to take necessary steps and ensure safety of the people in the monsoon. But it is certain that the plan will not have anything for people in Thula Durlung because there is no information about their situation in the report (unless the team decides to make some story based on hearsay).
When will the state begin to realize that a large part of Nepal lives in the Third Mountains?
No matter what the macroeconomic indicators say, the living condition of the people in the Third Mountains is generally beyond one’s imagination. When will the state take note of it and begin to value the outcome rather than the process?
Thanking Irene for her support