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PM Oli’s ancestral home in Terhathum being converted into museum, kindles hope among locals for development works

Rabindra Kafle, Rosha Basnet, PANCHTHAR: Around nine kilometres away from the Mid Hill Highway at Hatti Pokhari of Chhatedhunga in Aathrai Rural Municipality arrives a white-colored two-storey house made up of stone, wood and mud and locally available materials.

What makes this traditional rural house stand out among others in the locality is its linkage with the serving executive head of our country, KP Sharma Oli.

The thatched house lately has been cynosure to the villagers and the passerby travelers alike for it is the ancestral house of Prime Minister Oli that is on the verge of transforming into a museum.

It is where the Head of the Government was born and had spent formative years of his political career before his family migrated to Jhapa district in 2028 BS.

Ahead of the two-storey house lies another bigger house with the corrugated zinc roof that was also built by Oli’s family members over a different period. PM Oli, at his own personal expenses, recently built a helipad some 50 meters away from these two houses. A narrow graveled road has been expanded up to this house recently.

Caretakers of these PM Oli’s ancestral houses and locals here are excited since the PM articulated his intent to observe his upcoming 68th birthday on 23 February this year at his ancestral house for they believe the prospect of the PM’s visit would not only enthuse the locals but also help further expedite the construction and expansion of basic infrastructures in this area. The last time Oli visited his ancestral home was in 2069 BS.

PM Oli, who has become PM for the second term, keeps broaching about Aathrai in his speeches occasionally and mentions how the place has been a witness to various movements against then Panchayat –(single-party system) reign.

Caretaker of these houses, Bishnumaya Bhusal, gratefully said, “We have been tasked to look after these houses and land here for years. We have been living off these ancestral heritages owned by the PM and his family. The other houses and lands sold to others after Oli’s family migrated to Jhapa were also bought from them again in the interest of the PM recently.”

The Bhusal family makes sure the houses are in order and the farm lands don’t lay barren unlike other farmland in the vicinity. They apply cow dung to the muddy courtyard of these traditional rural houses regularly and routinely conduct maintenance and repair works on these houses that were in a sorry state before they were entrusted with the caretaking task.

One among the locals, Binod Silwal, spoke of the need to preserve these houses in such a manner that that the original structures remain intact. “These ancient houses could be developed as a historical and tourist attraction,” Silwal opined.

According to him, the locals have pinned a high hope that their locality would get public amenities such as good roads, electricity and irrigation among others in the process of converting PM Oli’s ancestral houses into a museum.

They are also confident that the PM would lay a base for development and prosperity of the country at large besides help change the face of his ancestral village during his leadership.

Recently, the Mid-Hill Highway has been expanded upto Terahthum’s district headquarters Myanglung further accelerating construction of other roadways in this district, expansion of electrification is being scaled up and construction of a domestic airport at Chuhandanda has gained an impetus, giving a glimpse of hope that an isolated and deserted Aathrai would be an oasis.

Thanks to the ripple effect of the pet project undertaken by PM Oli to convert his ancestral houses into museum, Aathrai Rural Municipality in Terahthum district is gradually redefining itself with development works picking a pace lately.

Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s In-Charge for Aathrai Rural Municipality Bhim Ghimire informed that preparations were afoot to turn these ancestral heritages of the PM into a museum.

Ghimire shared that photo gallery with archives of photographs showcasing Oli’s life journey would be housed in the museum besides keeping memorabilia related to him.

He informed that the KP Sharma Oli Trust has already purchased 200 ropani of land to establish Agriculture Research Centre here while process to buy additional 200 ropani had been forwarded with an objective to produce skilled human resources for the commercialization of agriculture.

Around two weeks ago, a team comprising Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Basanta Kumar Nembang, Secretary at the Ministry Devendra Karki, Director General at the Department of Road Keshav Kumar Sharma and parliamentarians Bhawani Prasad Khapung and Ghanasyam Khatiwada were here to oversee the development works relating to the Mill-Hill Highway.

They wished to visit the PM’s ancestral home along the way. After an arduous six kilometer of travelling from Hatti Pokhari, their vehicles could not move farther than that as the road was muddy and too narrow. The drivers were also fuming as saying, “The bends here are too narrow that the vehicles could be hardly turned around.”

Minister Nembang and his team covered the rest of the distance on foot. Khapung, parliamentarian from Terahthum, later summarized,” The ancestral village of Prime Minister also seem to bear the brunt of migration. I could hardly see people in that village.”

According to him, as the village was sparsely populated, mostly with the senior citizens, the farmlands were also laid barren.

He, however, setting a positive tone voiced,” Locals now are hopeful that Atharai would undergo a sea of change. The son of this soil is now the executive head of the country. We are hopeful that something good will certainly happen now for this place. The motorable roadway has been expanded to the PM’s house recently. More development works ought to follow.” RSS

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