Following massive resentments from all sides for their failure to clean the debris from the roads dogged to lay the pipeline, Ministry of Water and Sanitation and Project Implementation Directorate of Kathmandu Upatayaka Khanepani Limited came to defend themselves saying that they are serious to reduce the dust.
“We are taking the inconvenience and hardship being experienced by the residents of the Kathmandu Valley due to pipe laying works and other sources of dust very seriously, and commit on behalf of PID to take strict measures to monitor dust,” said project,” said Tiresh Prasad Khatri, Project director of the Directorate of the Project Implementation Directorate, Kathmandu Upatayaka Khanepani Limited.
Although the contractors has to take suppression measures by sprinkling water twice a day at major stretch of road and reinstate the road with bituminous blacktop within the minimum possible time, it has not done for months leaving the road with dust.
“We are abided by the environmental and social safeguard guidelines of the project. We did not waste any time to clean the dust by spraying water and cleaning the road. “Since massive construction is going on following earthquake, it is unjust to blame us for air pollution,” said Ramesh Sharma, Managing director Sharma and Sharma Construction Company, one of the major contractors of Melmachi Project.
On managing dusts emanated from digging road to lay pipeline, Khatri said efforts are on in this regard as per Environment Protection Act and the Safeguard Policy of Asian Development Bank.
Project Implementation Directorate (PID/KUKL) has been working on development of infrastructure for distribution of Melamchi Water within the Kathmandu Valley.
It involves construction of distribution network, bulk distribution system and service reservoir tanks. Certain targets are fixed for the first phase to be completed within December.
Out of 670 Kilometer, construction of 533 km distribution Network System (DNI) completed. In order to complete the remaining works within the targeted time frame, PID/KUKL has mobilized its team round the clock. Currently more than 1200 workers are working in 40 different sites with target to accomplish all pipe laying works before the completion of tunnel work.
“PID/KUKL is equally aware about the environmental impact being encountered by public of the Valley and has already taken several steps to minimize the environmental impact at sites. We would like to inform the public though press about our initiatives to minimize the environmental and health impact at construction sites,” said Khatri.
Moreover, the Safeguard Policy Statement 2009 requires all ADB financed and/or ADB administered projects to develop a structured process of impact assessment, planning, and mitigation to address the adverse effects of projects throughout the project cycle.
PID/KUKL has adopted best practices to prevent dust causing a nuisance. Observation shows that major sources of dust from the construction activity are trench excavation, debris and bedding materials.
During reinstatement work, debris remaining after backfilling and compaction work as well as sub base material and stone dust used is major source of suspended particulate matter SPM (dust) in air. As a preventive measure, we are encouraging contractors to follow various measures to minimize the environmental impact.
These include pipe laying works during night time in busy roads in order to minimize inconvenience on traffic movement with restoration of road by next morning. Due to less movement of people during night time adverse environmental impact caused due to construction activities is minimized.
Use of green net and cover the stored bedding materials during the construction period to prevent dust to become airborne.
PID is trying its best in complying Environmental and Social Safeguard Compliance as stipulated in Environmental Management Plan (EMP). Community Awareness and Participation Consultant (CAPC) and Design and Supervision Consultant (DSC-3), as a PID/KUKL are responsible for monitoring the compliance of the environmental and social safeguards of the project activities.
“Development of water supply infrastructure in a densely populated metropolitan city like Kathmandu is a great challenge. Nevertheless, we have no alternative but to complete these infrastructures as early as possible and distribute water to the residents of Kathmandu Valley. Considering the national importance of this project, we are working day and night and committed to complete the works within the targeted time frame with least inconvenience to the general public of the Kathmandu Valley. In this connection, we would like to thank all the media, civil society and general public for their support and encouragement and expect the continued support and cooperation in the coming days ahead,” said Khatri.
It is expected that about 1.3 million people will be served under this first phase through 85,000 household connections. It is envisaged that by the end of 2017, KUKL will deliver adequate daily amounts of safe drinking water to its customers. This means up to 4 hours per day at scheduled times although some households on the old network system may receive less due to old pipes and system losses.