Bagmati clean-up faces uncertain future without campaign leader Paudyal

Kathmandu, November 9

The Bagmati clean-up campaign, which has been continuing for the last 180 weeks, faces an uncertain future with campaign leader Leela Mani Paudyal appointed as Nepal’s ambassador to China.

Paudyal will assume office next week.

Right from the beginning, the campaign has been running every Saturday under the leadership of former chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal.

A meeting held at the PM’s office today decided not to assign any individual to lead the campaign. “For now, the Ministry of Urban Development will look after the campaign running inside the Kathmandu Valley,” Umesh Bohora, a campaign activist and regular volunteer who attended the meeting told The Himalayan Times, “River cleaning campaigns outside the Valley will be led by the leadership of Ministry of Local Development and Federal Affairs.”

Nepal’s ambassador to China, Leela Mani Paudyal, Pashupati Area Development Trust’s Member Secretary Dr Govinda Tandan, former urban development secretary Kishore Thapa, acting secretary of office of the Prime Minister and Council Ministers Tanka Mani Sharma, KMC executive officer Rudra Singh Tamang and Lalitpur sub-metropolitan city’s executive officer Bharat Mani Pandey are also known to have participated in the meeting.

Paudyal reiterated that the campaign which was launched on May 19, 2013 shouldn’t lose momentum in the absence of his leadership. “The campaign must continue as before no matter who leads it,” he said.

The Bagmati River was clearly facing a number of serious environmental and ecological challenges and over the years, the situation had deteriorated drastically until the campaign took off.

According to the campaign volunteers there is a core team of around 120-140 volunteers whose dedication towards cleaning Bagmati has remained unflagging.

“Since the campaign began, more than 7000 metric tons garbage has been removed from the river and more than 485,000 people have since joined the campaign,” campaign’s activist Umesh Bohora said.

Minister for Urban Development Arjun Narshingha KC had felicitated former chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal amid a programme in Kathmandu last Saturday.

Paudyal, the newly appointed Nepali ambassador to China, was honoured for his contribution to the clean-up campaign.