Ahead of the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections, Sambad English’s Samiran Mishra caught up with Congress candidate Mrs. Manju Rath who has made a strong case for herself as she prepares to contest for the post of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) Mayor.
Why should the people of Berhampur vote for you?
Berhampur as a city has stagnated for the last 20 years. As far as anyone can recall, the last major development work in the city took place when the Congress was in power.
By major development, I mean better roads, better sanitation, proper lighting, and other infrastructural changes. For the last two decades, the local administration has just put paper over the cracks. There has not been any work done to bring about a permanent solution to the woes of the people.
The city faces a grave drinking water issue. Even though the government announced plans to improve that sector a few years ago, no progress has been made in that regard. A Congress mayor at the helm can bring about that change to address the shortcomings that this city is facing.
Successive terms in power by other parties have made the lives of Berhampur people all the more difficult. A change is absolutely paramount.
I have great empathy for the people of this city. Having experienced their woes, I have a very clear and honest idea to improve the living standards in Berhampur. I am sure people will keep that in mind while casting their votes.
How do you plan to tackle the popularity of BJD?
The Biju Janata Dal has not come to power because of ‘popularity’. They won because of hooliganism, fear-mongering, bribery, and exploiting the innocence of poor people.
If the BJD is so popular then what is the need of threatening members and candidates of other parties? Why were candidates threatened with dire consequences while filing nomination papers?
The BJD’s reign of misgovernance must come to an end.
What are the things you hope to accomplish if elected as Mayor?
In 2008, Berhampur municipality was upgraded to a municipal corporation by including 18 panchayats adjacent to the city. It has been nearly 15 years and those localities still lack basic amenities. One of my agendas is to carry out developmental works in those panchayats.
During campaigning, I noticed the woes of slum dwellers. If elected as mayor, I will strive hard for their settlement under various Awas Yojanas.
Thirdly, the drinking water issue in Berhampur must be addressed immediately. I will introduce a permanent solution to that problem by providing 24/7 safe drinking water to people.
Waterlogging also remains a constant thorn. I will work towards the development of better roads, cleaning up of open rains and making the environment in the city cleaner and safer.
Berhampur and southern Odisha in general have been largely neglected. An airport has been built in Jharsuguda but similar calls for another in Berhampur are being ignored.
For years we have appealed for an Orissa High Court bench in the city but those appeals have also fallen on deaf ears.
The Ring Road project which was proposed back in 2013 to ease traffic congestion in the city has not been completed yet.
I will work towards the quick completion of all these pending projects.