• Thursday 22nd August 2019

It’s Systemic

  • Published on: July 17, 2019



  • A system that must necessarily gobble up seventy percent of the country’s annual budget to sustain its administrative infrastructure is certainly not toned up for development. So, when eggheads prescribe immediate, short, medium and long term planning to cope with seasonal disasters, we must merely dismiss these truths as wishful thinking. Government planning since the past three decades centers on government sustenance given that we have systematically dismantled painfully built structures of long term capabilities. In the process, traditional disaster management institutions have virtually been relegated as old hat in utter disregard of their continuing utility. Current disaster managers are ideologically inhibited from probing how seasonal floods were coped with through the management of the masses in and around, shall we say the Bheri and Narayani embankments. Flooding, after all is n new Nepali phenomena and the modernists’ conclusion that public encroachment and poor land use management accounts for much of today’s disaster is mere dismissal in the sense that no probe evidently has begun as to who actually tampered with old wisdoms. The culprits by most accounts remain in the politico-administrative compared system who benefited from the tampering. We now, conveniently, admit that the land mafia is to blame for much of the tampering in land use policies. We do not accept that this mafia is part and parcel of the politics that this system nurtures.
    We are coining new words such as the ‘dozer and tipper’ culture. If river embankments and traditional water drainage have been encroached upon by the ‘land mafia’ the ‘dozer and tipper cultures, we say, contribute to the erosion of the fragile hill sides and river beds where excavators fill trippers with sediments precious to river stability. Political licensing and political road building sans the essential expertise and technical supervision have rendered even the political attention to save the Chure futile. We accept it. But the system is helpless since it must nurture a support base that has, in its latest version, allowed the upliftment of these residual contractors to elected public office. The system is feeding on itself. This is why Prime Minister K.P. Oli can only admit mistakes but is hapless when it comes to corrections since such will only threaten his dislodgement. It should be evident that this applies to every and any body that replaces him since that currently aspiring individual will replace him with the same compulsions. Those who are advocating change from the use of the same systemic institutions are thus suffering from delusions conditioned by ideological impediments preventing them at probing the past for lessons into how the country coped.
    The past has been unceremoniously dunked by modernist ideologues and functionaries who never knew our past. It is not the past that denied us the necessary space between river banks and public settlements. It is not the past that uprooted trees without leaving a stub conducive to rebirth. These are modern phenomena accelerated by modernist political change leaving the knowledgeable helpless castaways. Our painfully built up pool of engineers, technicians and social scientists who talk sense must all survive kowtowing to the vicissitudes of self-serving political masters who are where they are because they are masters in the use of the system. It is, thus, the system that must go and this is know value judgement.

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