Nepal's Wish: To Be Sri Lanka... Minus the Politicians

Nepal, a land of diverse landscapes and cultural richness, often finds itself in comparison with neighboring countries, particularly Sri Lanka, when discussing economic progress and infrastructure. However, while striving to learn from Sri Lanka's accomplishments, Nepal must tread cautiously to avoid replicating its political discord.

Explorations into Sri Lanka have unveiled profound disparities. Their provision of free healthcare and education stands as a guiding beacon for Nepal's aspirations. It's a societal leap that Nepal fervently wishes to replicate, acknowledging the transformative impact such initiatives can have on a populace hungry for progress.

The success story of Sri Lanka's national carrier, Sri Lankan Air, reshaping the tourism landscape amidst financial turbulence and the pandemic, highlights a critical inquiry. Nepal Airlines, despite holding significant business prospects, struggles to thrive. The void lies glaringly in the absence of visionary leadership. Participation in Sri Lankan Air's Global Sales conference was enlightening. Their strategic presentations and meticulous promotion of Sri Lanka as a tourist haven underscored the urgent need for exceptional leadership at Nepal Airlines. The time is ripe to scout for global talent to elevate Nepal Airlines to new heights before it falls irretrievably behind in a fiercely competitive industry.

Sri Lanka's roads, rivaling European standards, stand as a testament to their infrastructural progress. This stands in stark contrast to critics of Nepal's infrastructure initiatives, which have lacked foreign investment, particularly from China. The contentment among Sri Lankans and the surge in repeat tourism validate the success of these developments.

Nepal's political leaders often dismiss comparisons with Sri Lanka, assuring the populace that our economy won't mirror its neighbor's. However, perhaps a firsthand experience in Sri Lanka would help them appreciate the achievements, disregarding the negative portrayals in media reports. The dire need for transformative leadership cannot be overstated. Celebrating leaders who have failed to construct essential infrastructure or nurture a competitive national carrier over decades is no longer tenable. Nepal deserves leaders committed to national progress over personal agendas.

The urgent need for change within the political spectrum is undeniable. Why should Nepal celebrate leaders who haven't managed to construct even a single kilometer of an expressway in their prolonged rule? Why, after 35 years of governance, does Nepal lack an international-standard cricket stadium?

The clarion call persists for Nepal to seek investors for infrastructure development, irrespective of their origins. Whether it's China or other potential investors, the emphasis should be on building quality infrastructure, transcending narrow notions of nationalism. Urgency prevails for well-built infrastructure to propel Nepal toward progress, regardless of the investor's nationality.

Nepal's aspiration isn't to replicate Sri Lanka's political turmoil. Instead, it aims to learn from its successes while carving a unique path. Free healthcare and education, a flourishing tourism industry, and superior infrastructure are within Nepal's grasp.

Nepal must seek leadership committed to steering the nation towards prosperity, prioritizing national progress over personal interests. It's time to emerge not as a follower but as a trailblazer in the pursuit of development, liberated from the confines of stagnation and embracing progress, regardless of origins or preconceived notions.

(Parajuli is the Founder and CEO of Rupse Holidays Pvt Ltd.)

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