Sanitary crisis looms over Harisiddhi, Thaiba

Lalitpur, August 14 :

The lack of a sewerage in the locality has given rise to a sanitary crisis in Harisiddhi and Thaiba VDCs, which lie on the outskirts of Lalitpur.

The existing systems cannot dispose of sewage coming out of these settlements. Though some households have built septic tanks to manage sewage, tankers cannot enter the clustered settlements to empty the waste.

As a result, the people have to either clean septic tanks on their own at night and dispose of waste at open fields, or build more septic tanks, which is not feasible. Last week, Dhan Ram Maharjan, of Opi Tole of Harisiddhi-9, broke into a fight with his neighbours while disposing of waste in an open area, which is 200 metres away from his place.

Those who have not built toilets must go to the fields early in the morning to address the nature’s call, Dhan Ram says.

Another resident of Harisiddhi, Ram Maharjan, says the septic tank they have been using is already full. “Since there is no way we can clean the tank, I have decided to dig another

septic tank, which will last for six years.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Sarmila Shahi lives in a neighbourhood in Thaiba, where animals are slaughtered. The absence of a sewerage has left her worried. “Though adults are used to bad smell and filth in the locality, the children may find it difficult to stand the same.” Though the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS) launched a project in 2001 to get rid of sewage, the project continues to remain in limbo because the locals have not been able to find land necessary for carrying out the project.

Nine ropanis of land would be required for building a treatment plant, where the sewage would be disposed of. The water treated in the plant would be flown into the Godavari River. Fifty per cent of the project work has been completed in Thaiba, the DWSS said, adding that the project is in limbo due to the unavailability of land.

The DWSS will allocate budget for the purpose and has started a ‘Detailed Engineering Survey and Design, Harisiddhi Sewerage’ in Harisiddhi.

The government was to provide technical and financial backing and the locals were supposed to contribute at least 20 per cent of the cost of the project and also find a plot for building the treatment plant. The project got delayed because locals could not find the land required for building the treatment plant, said Rom Lal Maharjan, chairperson of the Consumer’s Committee of the Thaiba Sewage Project.

World Vision International, a non-governmental organisation working in these VDCs, has also promised to provide funds for the project. The locals of Thaiba have bought two plots of land at different locations for the project, but the two plots are not just enough for the project.