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Tsunami Hits Inland

November 21, 2005

Deep into the lower hills of Sri Lanka in Galle district, traveling South, along the tea plantation, rubber trees and coconut plants Upali aaiya turns the Japanese SUV to the left. As we pass a highway under construction, road narrows. On the sides we pass recently planted paddy fields. We stop and Mr. Kannagara rolls down his window and mutters something in Sinhala that appeared to be asking for direction. The lady points straight ahead. We drive 200 meters and the mud road forks. We stop again. Upali aaiya asks another villager and turns the vehicle to the right.

The road narrows further. We move 50 meters up the hill. A vehicle approaches from the opposite direction. The mud-road is so small we have to back off to let the other vehicle pass.

We drive up the slope and houses begin to emerge. Road narrows further. Because of the last night’s heavy rain, it looked slippery. We wonder whether the vehicle will pass through a small ditch. Upali aaiya puts on the 4WD. We move slowly.

After passing a few houses on the both sides of the narrow road which barely seemed 4 feet wide, we stop at a one story house. It looked newly constructed. House is void of any furniture. A new 20 inch TV looks out of place.

Mr. Kannagara jumps out. We follow. A woman emerges out of the room – barely 5 feet tall, she recognizes Mr. Kannagara and joins her hand to say, “Ayubowan”, the Sri Lankan greetings. Three children follow her.

The woman is Mrs. M.L.Chandrawati, a single mother of five children. She is also the sole take care of an old mother-in-law and a cousin, who has development disabilities.

On the day tsunami struck, her husband, sole breadwinner of the family, had gone to a vegetable fair in Matara. He never returned.

When a newspaper ran a story on family’s plight, Mrs. Ariyaratne, who runs Sarvodaya Suwasetha, drove to the village to meet the family.

Sarvodaya supported in building the new house and has committed in supporting the children with Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sponsorship Program, which provides Sri Lankan Rupees 1,500 per child per month.

While we were talking, Mrs. Chandrawati, disappeared in the room. When she came out, she had a piece of paper on her hands. It was laminated. I recognized her fragile picture, along with her children. But, couldn’t read what it said. Mr. Kannanagara explained, “this is the news which brought our attention to the family’s plight.”

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मधेस अान्दोलन मुद्दा: - के जनसंख्या मात्रको अाधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व ठिक हो?

मधेश अान्दोलनमा सहभागि अान्दोलनरत दल, समर्थक विचार निर्माताहरु, सहभागिहरुले नयंा संविधान  मधेस विरोधि भयो भनेर उ्ठाइएका विभिन्न मुद्दा मध्ये नयां संविधानमा जनसंख्याको अाधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व भएन भन्ने पनि छ। अधिवक्ता दिपेन्द्र झा ले लेख्नु भएका विभिन्न लेख र फेसबुक पोस्टहरु मा, "धारा ८४(१)(क)प्रतिनिधिसभाको प्रत्यक्ष तर्फ रहेका १६५ सिटको लागि जनसंख्याको आधारमा निर्वाचन क्षेत्र कायम गर्ने प्रावधान राख्नु पर्छ । हाल भूगोल र जनसंख्याको आधारमा राखिएको छ । बरु कर्णाली, मनाङ जस्ता भौगोलिक विकटता भएको क्षेत्रको लागि विशेष प्रावधान राख्न सकिन्छ ।‍ " यो मुद्दा प्रमुख रुपमा उ्ठाईको देखिन्छ । 

सामान्यतया प्रजातान्त्रिक व्यवस्थाहरुमा, जनसंख्या नै प्रतिनिधित्वको मुल अाधार हो । एक व्यक्ति, एक भोट र त्यसैको अाधारमा हुने प्रतिनिधित्वको व्यवस्था । यसअर्थमा मधेसबाट उ्ठाईको मुद्दा ठिक लागे पनि, नेपाल जस्तो भौगोलिक  जटिलता र दुर्गमता भएको जिल्ला भएको देशको लागि एकांकि ढंगले सोच्नु कत्तिको सार्थक छ?  नेपालको परिवेशमा जनसंख्यलाई मात्र हैन, भुगोललाई पनि प्रतिनिधित्वको हुनु पर्ने अाधार देखि्न्छ । 


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