GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU,June27:The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Office has been deploying over 900 sweepers to clean the streets of Kathmandu every day.
But most of the parts of the capital city are always seen covered with dust despite the KMC’s huge investment for the purpose.
“The situation has worsened mainly due to the road expansion drive and the ongoing infrastructure development works along the roads,” Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the KMC’s Environment Division, told Republica. “We haven’t been able to control dust even after regularly sweeping and watering along the roads by water tankers in regular basis.”
He informed that the poor management and coordination among various government agencies involved in road expansion and development projects has been the major cause in generating dust in Kathmandu. Similarly, collapsed old houses and poor road infrastructures are other factors to complicate the situation.
He said that lack of proper road development and practice of leaving scattered construction materials haphazardly have worsened the situation so much so that the KMC has become unable even to use its road vacuum sweepers. Use of such equipment had helped beautify the capital city during the SAARC summit held in Kathmandu in 2014.
“Due to rough surfaces and scattered construction materials on the roadsides, we have become unable to use the road vacuum cleaners for long time. Though we have 3 road vacuum sweepers, these have been dumped,” he added. Officials said the vacuum sweepers that cost 4.5 million rupees each are almost out of use after the SAARC summit.
“We know that the high level of dust in the streets has become a major headache for Kathmanduites. But it is also a reality that the KMC is unable to control it,” Shrestha said. “The situation may not improve unless the road development and expansion projects are speedily carried out in a more managed and coordinated way in the days to come.”
About two weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa had expressed serious dissatisfaction over the current situation of the city’s environment. Thapa during his visit to KMC office at Bag Durbar strictly asked the KMC officials to work seriously toward transforming Kathmandu from the current status to a greener place.
DPM Thapa, who heads the Ministry of Moreign Affairs and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, expressed his dissatisfaction over the KMC’s failure to maintain clean and green environment that was developed during the 18th SAARC summit.
Shrestha said that the government had deferred all the scheduled works such as demolition of structures along the road sides and its road expansion drive during the summit so that it could maintain the city’s beauty.
“We had used both the traditional [human] sweepers and the vacuum sweepers during the summit that helped us manage the situation effectively,” said Shrestha.
Had the road condition been better, the KMC would have been able to use the cost-effective vacuum sweepers that give better result.
As sweepers are paid around 12,000 to 15,000 rupees each per month, use of the equipment costs significantly less to the KMC, officials said. “However, the equipment are dumped due to the road condition,” said an official.
First appeared in Republica national daily