Skyline of Sandhikharka
|Time zone||Nepal Time (UTC+5:45)|
Sandhikharka Municipality (Nepali: सन्धिखर्क नगरपालिका) is the headquarters of Arghakhanchi District which lies in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal. The former village development committee (VDC) was converted into a municipality on 18 May 2014 by merging the existing Sandhikharka, Bangla, Narapani, Khanchikot, Kimadada, Argha and Dibharna VDCs. It is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, in the western part of the capital, Kathmandu.
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (May 2014)|
Sandhikharka, also known as Sandhikharka Municipality, is the headquarters of the Arghakhanchi district, situated between the two mountains Argha and Khanchi, from which the district's name is derived. In recent years Sandhikharka has made progress in road building and the training of people through various national and international non-governmental organisations. Although Sandhikharka is a small town, in recent years migration to developed countries has increased, with many migrants sending money back to support their families
Arghakhanchians have been subject to Maoist influences, threats and violence. They are located 380 kilometres (236 mi) southwest of Kathmandu. Three small rivers; the Bangi, Ghoche and Bhadri merge at Chutrabeshi, within Snadhikharka. Therefore, people sometimes call the rivers Tribeni. There is one pitched road that connects to the national highway at Gorusinghe. However Arghakhanchi district was the first district in whole of Nepal where all the VDCs were officially linked with the motor road.
Sandhikharka is located around 960 meters above sea level. The climate changes from season to season. During summer, the maximum temperature reaches about 37 °C which can be significantly warm for EU visitors (although it might be quite normal to the local residents) and in the winter season the temperature is usually between 1-10 °C. In summer the rainfall is high whist in winter the surrounding mountains around remain very cold and are sometimes covered in snow.
Many years ago the region was fully covered by the wild grasses called "Kharka". Farmers used to bring their cattle to graze on the land. This area was a broader of two small kingdoms i.e. Argha and Khanchi during Chaubisi rajya (24 principalities). There was always conflict about the ownership of the land between the two monarchs of this place. Later, in the interest of public welfare, the kings decided to made a treaty between the two little kingdoms. Treaty is the English translation of Sandhi which means a formally concluded and ratified agreement between states. The two states created the treaty for the land of "Kharka" which eventually lead to the name of Sandhikharka, the headquarter of Arghakhanchi district.
On September 8, 2002, the town was involved in a massive battle between the government forces and "thousands" of Maoists, reportedly led by Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Pampha Bhusal who come from the district. Heavily armed rebels engaged the bases of civilian police, armed police and the Royal Nepalese Army and overpowered them following a few hours of gunbattle. They torched all government buildings except the hospital, most never being rebuilt. About 50 policemen and 70 rebels were killed in the night-long battle, with almost 36 police injured. However, doubts remain over how many of the dead were actually Maoists. A second attack was launched on September 10, 2002, in which guerillas killed at least 65 security personnel, including soldiers, through 12 hours of fighting. Forty-one personnel were reported as injured in this attack. A telecommunication tower was destroyed as a result of the second attack, and reinforcements were rushed in by helicopter as well as a government-sponsored effort to hold the town. Unnamed leaders said lack of communication and a failed response from authorities led to the government's defeats. CNN speculated that these attacks were aimed at disrupting the upcoming election by forcing the Nepali government to impose a state of emergency.
Aftermath and government attack
Following the attacks, all the political parties were hounded out, and the Nepali government left Sandhikharka other than operating security forces and the post office. However, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visited the town on September 11, who expressed his surprise to see this level of damage and destruction. The rebels freed 60 people abducted after the attack that day. Attempting to flee, government troops blocked an exit route from Arghakhanchi district, killing 13 guerillas.
2005 Maoist attack
Maoists launched a third attack on March 4, 2005. This operation backfired, and the Nepali military killed 30 Maoists in what BBC called "one of the bloodiest clashes since the royal coup." There were no casualties of troops. After forcing rebels into retreat, the military recovered "some crude bombs, terrorist documents and equipment used to operate mines". Despite his military's success, King Gyanendra of Nepal imposed a state of emergency, detained political party leaders and imposed censorship of the press. Nepal's military released a statement on the fighting:
On 4 March, terrorists... fled after strong resistance by the security forces. In the action, about 30 terrorists are estimated to have been killed and some injured.
At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 8921. It had 6703 married people, with 185 having more than one spouse as of that census. Sandhikharka had 7706 literate people, and 2272 were attending school as of that census. This high literacy rate once drew people from outside Arghakhanchi District to Sandhikharka for its good schools.
The Shree Janajyoti Higher Secondary School in Sandhikharka was established in 1963, one of the oldest school in the District. This school is famous for providing high-level science in Arghakhanchi district. Mr. Janga Bahadur P.C. is the principal of the school since 2007. Recently, two new buildings have constructed to expand more classrooms and practical lab rooms for science and other programs. Financial support was partially funded by the government of India for one building. Currently, Plus two programs including science, commerce and education are running at the school. Due to high level education system in this school, students from neighbouring districts are coming to study every year. Nevertheless, the number of students in the school is always within the range of 1000 every year. The first English boarding school was Tribeni English Boarding school in Chutrabesi Sandhikharkha which was established in 1981 by Indra Gopal. After successfully running for few years this school shut down its operation due to some poor management problems. Later some existing members of Tribeni school formed another great school called Himali Children Academy which produced a very talented scholars. Recently (with the figure of 2014)Arghakhanchi Higher Secondary School have successfully being recognised a quality education provider competing another Gauri Shankar English boarding School. Panini Multiple College is the first and oldest college affiliated by Tribhuvan university in this district the founder principal of this college was Mr. Gyan Hari Acharya and current principal is Mr. Gyan Bahadur Chhetri since 2009. Many graduate and undergraduate courses are running in the college. Therefore, number of students always higher. Broad of the college is planning to run master course in coming days.
Closure of schools
In October 2004, the Maoists ordered the closure of all private schools in Sandhikharka, as well as the rest of Arghakhanchi District. This came a year after they promised to keep the schools open if the cut their tuition costs by at least 20 percent, which was what occurred. According to schoolchild Pratiba Acharya, "Maoists thought that only rich people study in boarding schools like mine, so they want to close them." Further, they destroyed schools who were operated by their enemies and those they disagreed with, after trying to change their curricula was to no avail. Many students were sent to public schools, which teach in Nepali. This posed two problems. For one thing, Nepali, though widely spoken and understood, is not invariably the mother tongue of all students in multilingual, multi-ethnic Nepal. In addition, private school students are accustomed to English as the primary medium of instruction.
The purpose of Village Development Committees is to organise village people structurally at a local level and creating a partnership between the community and the public sector for improved service delivery system. A VDC has a status as an autonomous institution and authority for interacting with the more centralised institutions of governance in Nepal. In doing so, the VDC gives village people an element of control and responsibility in development, and also ensures proper utilization and distribution of state funds and a greater interaction between government officials, NGOs and agencies. The village development committees within a given area will discuss education, water supply, basic health, sanitation and income and will also monitor and record progress which is displayed in census data.
In VDCs there is one elected chief, usually elected with over an 80% majority. From each ward, there is also a chief that is elected along with these there are also four members elected or nominated.
To Promote local culture Sandhikharka has one FM radio station Radio Arghakhanchi - 105.8 MHz Which is a Community radio Station.
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- http://www.arghakhanchi.com (in Nepalese)