Nepal | September 26, 2020

Drive to remove dangling wires hits Thamel businesses

Ujjwal Satyal
Share Now:

Kathmandu, December 18

Thamel is getting rid of chunks of wires and cables dangling from utility poles ahead of the much-touted Visit Nepal 2020, but this initiative to beautify Nepal’s most famous backpackers hub has caused inconvenience to businesses, as they have lost access to landline telephone and internet services, which are a must to communicate and accept digital payments.

The Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC) launched a drive to remove all types of wires dangling from utility poles four days ago in a bid to make the tourist hub cleaner. This has left Thamel, which is home to around 6,000 businesses, without internet or landline telephone connection. It is not known how long it will take for these services to be restored.

An excavator being used to dump the dangling wires that were cut off from poles in the tourist hub of Thamel, Kathmandu, on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Photo: THT

“The initiative to beautify Thamel is noteworthy. But the wires should have been removed after providing alternative access to phone and internet service,” said Bidur Rajopadhaya, the operator of Deluxe Money Exchange at Thamel Chowk.

Businesses like Rajopadhaya’s entirely depend on landline phone service as they have to use point of sales terminals where debit and credit cards are swiped to settle payments. “I’m worried about losing business because Christmas is the time when business volume increases and I have no phone connection,” said Rajopadhaya.

Many shops in Thamel that accept debit and credit cards are also seeing a slump in business, as foreigners, who do not carry cash, are not buying anything. One such shop is owned by Sunil Thapa.

“There has been very little business transaction in my shop in the last four days because most of the foreigners do not carry cash these days,” said Thapa, who owns a handicraft shop.

Hotels are facing similar problems. They have not been able to take stock of online bookings and communicate with clients because of interruption in internet service. “Worse, our guests are complaining about not being able to communicate with their families and friends in their home countries,” said Raman Adhikari, operator of Hotel Summit.

The TTDC has acknowledged that their move has caused inconvenience to businesses. “But we had to do this as Thamel has become ugly because of tonnes of wires dangling from utility poles,” said TTDC President Prakash Narsingh Rana.

He added, “We launched this drive after holding discussions with local authorities, businesses, police, Nepal Telecommunications Authority and internet service providers. We also published a public notice in a newspaper on December 3 about this drive.”

The Internet Service Providers’ Association of Nepal has, however, said it was not formally informed about the campaign. “We would have made necessary arrangements if we were told beforehand,” said ISPAN President Bhoj Raj Bhat.

The haphazard removal of wires, according to Bhat, has inflicted losses to around 10 ISPs that provide internet service in Thamel area. “We will move the court for causing damage to our assets and demand compensation as well,” said Bhat.

A version of this article appears in print on December 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Perfection of Wisdom: Sacred texts of 'Pragya Paramita' inscribed in gold

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25 The holy book of 'Pragya Paramita' (Perfection of Wisdom) being inscribed in golden letters by guthi members for its preservation at the Golden Temple in Lalitpur on September 24, 2020. Thursday. The holy book contains transcriptions of Buddhist scriptures and is rewritten Read More...

Europe, UEFA

De Bruyne, Lewandowski, Neuer on UEFA player of the year shortlist

Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer have been short-listed for the UEFA men's Player of the Year award, European football's governing body said on Wednesday. Lewandowski guided Bayern Munich to their sixth Champions League title, finishing as the competition's top scorer with Read More...

COVID-19 pushes more children into poverty

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 24 The number of children living in multi-dimensional poverty has soared to approximately 1.2 billion due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis published by UNICEF and Save the Children today. This is a 15 per cent increase in the number of ch Read More...

One buried to death, five missing in landslides

BHAIRAHAWA, SEPTEMBER 24 One person died and five others went missing in landslides at different places in Palpa this morning. In Surangdanda, ward 2 of Rambha Rural Municipality, Motisara Gaha, 27, died when a landslide buried his home. Similarly, in Phoksingkot of the same ward, five persons Read More...

In-person classes start in Sudurpaschim

DHANGADI, SEPTEMBER 24 Schools, which had remained shut for long due to the coronavirus pandemic, have started in-person classes in different districts of Sudurpaschim Province. The schools were closed for the last six months after the government imposed nationwide lockdown to stop the virus s Read More...

Students of public schools deprived of education

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 24 Hundreds of students, mostly from public schools, across the country continue to be deprived of education due to lack of their access to electronic mediums like the internet, television and radio. The Ministry of Education has been encouraging educational institutions t Read More...

SAARC Council of Ministers holds virtual meeting

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 24 Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali urged member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to explore all viable options to hold the 19th SAARC Summit. Delivering his opening remarks at an informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers Read More...