Nepal | May 29, 2020

Road repair after monsoon: KMC mayor

Himalayan News Service
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Pedestrians walk aside a waterlogged muddy road in Chabahil, Kathmandu on Friday, July 21, 2017. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

Kathmandu, July 21

Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Bidya Sundar Shakya said his office would repair roads under KMC jurisdiction only after the rainy season.

KMC chief’s remark goes against the spirit of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s recent instruction to authorities concerned to repair all roads in Kathmandu within 15 days. Local levels of Kathmandu Valley, Department of Roads and Project Implementation Division of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited are supposed to do their bit to repair roads that fall under their jurisdiction. These offices have to finish the task by July 30.

Shakya told THT that Kathmandu Metropolis had stopped repairing roads under its jurisdiction. “We do not want our money to go down the drain,” said Shakya, adding that KMC would not do any repair work during monsoon. Shakya said if KMC carried out repair work, rain water would sweep away black-topping.

“Even the sewage system will be jammed if we start repairing roads now,” he argued.

Shakya however, said he had directed officials concerned to put in place temporary safety measures, such as placing iron nets over pits to prevent accidents.

Prime Minister Deuba had instructed authorities concerned to fix roads within 15 days after a schoolgirl, Binita Phuyal, drowned in a rain-filled pit at Nepaltar, while another schoolgirl, Satya Sapkota, fell into a pit at Samakhushi. Luckily, Sapkota was rescued by locals.

Secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development Dinesh Thapaliya said he was not authorised to comment on the remarks of KMC mayor. He said the ministry had directed local levels to minimise risks making minimal expenditure. “We also know that permanent structures cannot be made during the monsoon,” said Thapaliya.

He said local levels were expected to clear blockages on roads, improve sewage flow, fill potholes with available materials and clear construction materials that could have caused water-logging on roads.

Director General of Department of Roads Gopal Prasad Sigdel said as an elected representative, Shakya might have the liberty to say what he had said. “We do not have such freedom. We have been doing our job to fix roads,” said Sigdel.

According to DG Sigdel, out of 1,400 km roads in Kathmandu Valley only 700 km were under the jurisdiction of DoR and stretches measuring only 50 km were in bad shape. He said about 300 km of roads were dug by Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited and the office had been doing its best to repair them.

He said local levels were responsible for repairing inner roads measuring 700 km.

Project Implementation Directorate of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited, which is also responsible for filling the pits it created while laying drinking water pipes, said it had been doing its best to complete the task within the given deadline.

“We have completed about 60 per cent work along the Chabahil-Chuchepati road section, 20 per cent on the Chabahil-Dhobikhola stretch and half the work on the Jamal-Lainchaur road,” said PID Project Director Tiresh Prasad Khatri.

Meanwhile, Lalitpur Metropolitan City’s Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan said he had directed the concerned department of the metropolis to put slabs on open pits and repair potholes.

A version of this article appears in print on July 22, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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