Ilam Municipality is going to provide a green card to each local organization and household actively observing the green code of conduct in the city. The card will cut their taxes.
Sanitation is the principal concern of the municipality these days. The municipality dwellers are promising to actively participate in the municipal programme.
Bijay Rai, a hotel owner in Ilam, was sweeping the road in front of his hotel. "If we don't do this, then no one will be there to do it. Everyone will have to do this for the cause of the city," he said.
Rai has painted his house green. He says this is a symbolic action to attract tourists.
Many others like him have painted their houses green as per the recommendation of the municipality.
"We are trying our best to develop Ilam as a green city," executive officer of the municipality Agni Adhikari said. "We are planning to distribute green cards to organisations and households for actively participating in the greening of the municipality."
According to the municipality, the green cards will be the principal motivational tool to encourage the residents to adopt environmentally sound practices.
"We have requested the town dwellers to paint their houses green so that the tourists will be attracted," Adhikari said.
Residents of Ilam Municipality said they were encouraged by the programme and were actively taking part in it. They are helping enforce the ban on use of plastic bags and free trade of tobacco products, key activities, the municipality thinks, that provide the backbone for the formation of the green city.
A local journalist, Dhiren Chemjong, said, "Whatever we can do for this programme, we will do that for its success."
Local resident Suman Shresthat said, "The people have been giving up the habit of cutting down the trees. They have started planting saplings in their compounds instead. "
With the successful ban on the use of polythene bags in Ilam Municipality, the mission of establishing Ilam as a green city has gained momentum. The approval of the 15th City Council to develop Ilam as a green city and subsequent commitment of the government has further accelerated the process.
The Green City agenda is basically designed into ten different thematic areas. These areas include health, education, energy, environment, socio-cultural aspect, transportation and communication, urban design, governance, economy and agriculture.
The government has not provided any budget for this project yet. According to the municipality, every activity so far drew on the support from the local people, NGOs, INGOs and municipal sources. The local development ministry is going to provide some budgetary support from this year to develop the green city. Spokesperson of the ministry Dinesh Thapaliya said, "If a full budget is introduced, it is certain that some money will go for greening the city of Ilam."