Urbanization Is A Good Thing

List of Prime Ministers of Nepal
List of Prime Ministers of Nepal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Big cities, done right, are good for the environment.

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But unless Baburam Bhattarai leads the national unity government, this massive tragedy will get turned into yet another farce in the long list of farces in Nepali politics. He is the only one with the vision. And I am basing my comments based on his publicly shared thoughts since the tragedy hit.

Bamdev Gautam is PC Sorcar. His idea of relief work is to create a major distraction in the Terai to hide his incompetence, gross corruption, and open mafia links. That guy is beyond cynical, he is criminal.

A national unity government has to be a response to the national tragedy. It can not be ruled by logics like (1) maybe it is KP Oli's turn now, or (2) let's see how the political arithmetic works out. I respect the logic of political arithmetic, and that is why I am proposing one berth also to Kamal Thapa's party, even though the only feeling I have for him and his party is utter, total disgust. I worked full time for the 2006 April revolution. I respect the logic of political arithmetic, and that is why I am saying, if Baburam Bhattarai is to lead the new national unity government, his party should get less than the number of berths it otherwise might get, to even it out. I am even suggesting his party should give up on the idea of states with ethnic names and a directly elected president as the price for his leadership in this current time of unprecedented national tragedy.

Continuing with Sushil Koirala is better than bringing KP Oli in. And no, I am not letting my bitterness towards his anti-Madhesi racist sentiments rule my logic. Time for that will come later. I just don't think KP Oli can do good for the relief and reconstruction work. Baburam, on the other hand, will bring the kind of zeal and vision that he brought to the politically complex task of widening the roads in Kathmandu.

Forming a national unity government in Sushil Koirala's leadership is out of question. It is better to continue with the current formation than to do that.

You bring KP Oli in, and that will be a cocktail of Sushil Koirala's incompetence ("deer in the headlights") and Bamdev Gautam's mafia ways. You can accuse Sushil of many things, incompetence and ethnic prejudice among them, but mafia links are not one of them.

There is a reason why Bijay Gachhedar is rooting for KP Oli, that is another joker who believes in open mafia links. That was a guy sent into the Forum by the Nepali Congress to destroy the afterglow of the Madhesi Kranti. And now he has been working to successfully destroy whatever little aura Prachanda has left in him.

Political criticism has to be taken to new heights at this moment of tragedy because so much is at stake.

Baburam should be brought in at the helm, and he should be allowed to bring in some non political people into his cabinet, as he might see fit.

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Talking about big cities, this earthquake has given Nepal an opportunity to attempt a new wave of urbanization. New cities should be built along the Arniko Highway, along the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway, along the Kathmandu-Nijgadh route, in Chitwan, and several Terai districts. I don't see how anyone in the three parties except Baburam can even grasp the concept of it.

A true need of the hour is to have the guts to see the national capital needs to be shifted, and to imagine a megacity in Chitwan that might go on to be home to fully one third of the Nepali population down the line. Kathmandu does not need to shrink. But Chitwan can grow massively. A city of 10 million residents in 10 years. It is easier to provide for infrastructure when people are amassed like that. It can also help ease people from the agriculture sector to the non-agricultural sector.

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