Cabinet’s go-ahead for BAP

KATHMANDU: With an aim of saving the Bagmati River from gradual degradation and encroachment, the government has provided full authority to High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation.

In this regard, the Cabinet also passed Bagmati Action Plan on August 11, 2009.

"Much has been talked and a considerable amount of money has been spent on Bagmati but the expected outcome is not satisfactory which insisted us to plan the integrated management of the Bagmati and its tributaries," said Mahesh Basnet, chairman of the committee. The committee, under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, was also empowered to work on Bagmati following the then Cabinet decision on 8 June, 2008.

The action plan was finalised by Nepal Trust for Nature Conservation with financial support of UN-Habitat and UNEP a month before. The total estimated cost is Rs 14.55 billion.

According to Anil Bhadra Khanal, member secretary and project chief of the committee, the action plan has divided Bagmati into five major zones from its origin at Baghdwar in Shivapuri to its outlet at Chovar. "These major zones will be focused separately as the part of integrated programme."

The Bagmati is an important tributary of the Ganges and has a catchments area of 3,710 square km in Nepal. The river rises in the Kathmandu Valley, which comprises just 15% of the area of the Bagmati basin in Nepal.

Ministry of Physical Planning and Works has also prepared a bill to this regard. "If the bill for formation of Bagmati Civilisation Development Council is passed, then the present committee will be much more powerful legally and every organisation should take its prior permission," Khanal said.

Meanwhile, the government of India has shown interest over the action plan. "I've talked with the economic counsellor of the Embassy of India in Kathmandu recently and according to him a technical team will arrive for study within two weeks."

Who gets how much of the pie

Zone Place Estimated Cost (Rs)

Zone 1 Valley surrounding hills and forest 219,800,000

Zone 2 Fifty-one VDCs surrounding the Valley 941,000,000

Zone 3 City developing areas 3,375,900,000

Zone 4 Core cities Area 6,199,988,000

Zone 5 Downstream areas 1,834,785,000

Others 1,594,100,000