As traders in Kathmandu have begun opening all shops every day in defiance of the guidelines of the prohibitory orders issued by the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya has gone out of contact.
DAOs of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur had jointly issued a schedule in the updated prohibitory orders, allowing certain shops to stay open only on certain days.
However, a few days after the schedule was issued, almost all shops in business hubs of the city are open.
Kathmandu’s Chief District Officer Janak Raj Dahal said he was aware that the order was not been implemented in its entirety, but added that it was now up to the public to save themselves from coronavirus infection.
Meanwhile, Mayor Shakya, who tested positive for COVID-19 on August 31, is reportedly staying in isolation at the five-star Soaltee Crown Plaza and has switched his phone off for over a week now.
Issuing a statement a day after he tested positive, Shakya had said was isolating himself at home and vowed to remain in touch with his city officials fighting COVID-19.
As coronavirus cases are rising with each passing day in Kathmandu, Mayor Shakya remains in desertion without consulting any of his officials or delegating his responsibilities to other officials to curb the virus spread.
According to sources at the hotel, Shakya is staying in a room costing Rs 20,000 per day, but is paying more than Rs 25,000 daily as he has also availed medical facilities in his room.
According to sources, the three rooms and medical facilities taken by Mayor Shakya’s family cost an average of Rs 75,000 a day. In the last 12 days of his stay, Shakya’s hotel expenses alone have reached Rs 900,000.
Whether the hotel expenses will be borne personally by the Mayor or will be paid through state coffers is yet unclear.
While Shakya’s close aides, including deputy mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi, said they were unaware about his whereabouts as he had gone out of contact and switched off his mobile phone, they have started to question the Mayor’s ability to lead the city.
Initially reluctant to establish quarantine or isolation facilities in Kathmandu until the first week of August, Shakya announced, only after the virus spread rapidly and public pressure mounted, on August 10 that integrated isolation centers to accommodate 5,000 people will soon be built in the city.
A month after his announcement, his commitment has yet to be materialized.