Kathmandu, March 2
As per the government decision on January 19, the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation has changed into River Basin Organisation, becoming part of the International Network of Basin Organisations.
The INBO promotes exchange of experiences within member organisations with regard to institutional and financial management, knowledge of water resources, and training for staff and stakeholders.
The HPCIDBC used to be a regulatory institution for Bagmati River related issues, especially regarding cleanliness and river bank encroachment.
“HPCIDBC’s roles have now expanded. This would require different levels of management provisions and settings,” Project Manager of the committee Rajesh Prasad Singh told The Himalayan Times, “With this, the RBO will have a management council of 55 members, an executive body of 15 members, and an advisory board of seven members.”
Singh had participated in the Network of Asian River Basin Organisations’ conference held in Indonesia from February 22 to 25.
The government had set up the Committee for Implementation and Monitoring of Environmental Improvement in Pashupati Area on April 11, 1995, which was modified to the High Powered Committee for Implementation and Monitoring of the Bagmati Area Sewerage Construction/Rehabilitation Project on November 22, 1995 with a vision and mandate to cover a wider scope of duties.
The committee was renamed High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of Bagmati Civilisation in 2008 in order to reflect the broader vision of the organisation.
The government had approved the Bagmati Action Plan (2009-2014) in July-August 2009, which introduced the concept of zoning the river system within Kathmandu valley. The Valley river system has been divided in five zones — Natural Conservation Core Zone, Rural Zone, Peri-urban zone, Urban Zone, and Downstream Zone.
The committee’s main objective had been to keep the Bagmati River and its tributaries clean by preventing direct discharge of solid and liquid wastes to the river, and conserve the river system within Kathmandu Valley.
Bagmati, a holy river of the Hindus and a major source of water for the Valley, has been polluted by human actions such as settlement along the river, unplanned urbanisation at the river basin, and disposal of untreated sewage and solid waste into the river system.
In addition, extractions of sand from river bed, construction of public infrastructure on river space, and illegal settlements of squatters along the banks have deteriorated the environment.
A version of this article appears in print on March 03, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.