Quality of life in Metropolitan Kathmandu is degrading. In General, there has been low level of satisfaction with services such as water, waste, health, education, road and transportation. Amongst, there are profound concerns regarding the road expansion, pipeline installation works of Melamchi Water Supply Project and waterlogging on the streets.
The road condition and water-sewage system are pathetic in the Kathmandu Valley. There are potholes, leakage of sewerage, broken roads and muddy waterlogged roads everywhere in the city. Hundreds of thousands of local people, pedestrians and school children have suffered everyday from this mess. Last week, a schoolgirl died after being swept away by sewerage drain. Another child was swept away by drainage water and was rescued by locals.
Is there government? Or, are there governments within the government so nobody is accountable? The current state of roads in the Kathmandu Valley is the microcosm of the functioning of the state today where the authorities lack will and capacity to serve the needs and interests of the people.
With the local elections, people have hopes for change and for betterment in the quality of their lives. It has been over one and a half months since the newly elected mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairpersons and ward members of the Kathmandu Municipality City have taken the oath of office and secrecy. We would like to congratulate each of you.
The newly elected office bearers in their first board meeting made an 11-point decision, including the launching of “clean the city” campaign. Recently the government had decided to build four smart cities on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley.
All these promises are good, but first tell the citizens why would you destroy something if you cannot repair on time? Who is coordinating whom on this road expansion, water supply and sewerage works? Who is accountable to the citizens and taxpayers?
Now I would like to ask these questions to the newly elected Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City. Sir, you may have clean the city or smart city dreams, but please work on the immediate priority to address pathetic road condition. You are leading the local government, so please step on. Attending meetings and making decisions have passed your 45 days, but we have not seen any move on this important issue. Your remaining 55 days of your 100 days of making Kathmandu one of the best cities as your pledge during the election campaign will prove false, if you cannot address the road condition.
Given the coordination challenges, delays and massive of works remained to be done in the Kathmandu Valley, the (no)work situation cannot go on business as usual. We have seen for months that the current coalition of bureaucracy and contractors will not work to address the road condition and water-sewerage system. There might be an option of engaging the private sector under different modalities of public private partnership (PPP) where Kathmandu Metropolitan City coordinates, facilitates and monitoring the works.
The people of Kathmandu constituency are closely watching how the newly elected representatives will work to fix the problem. The time is running out.
Let’s make Kathmandu roads potholes free!
Dr. Prabin Manandhar is an expert of international development. Currently, he is working as Country Director of The Lutheran World Federation. He is the Convener of ACT Alliance Nepal Forum. He is also a visiting faculty at the Kathmandu University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org