Kathmandu, December 29
Suresh Thapa, a commuter in Kathmandu, boarded a public vehicle from Sundhara to go to Teku. The ride, which should not have taken more than five minutes, took him 45 minutes.
Thapa said he decided against walking on foot, which would have been faster, because haphazard construction activities going on the roads have made them unsafe and extremely dusty.
Many commuters in the Valley have complained that traffic congestion in almost all routes in the city have worsened further over the last few months.
Former deputy inspector general Ganesh Rai said that commuters were more likely to get anywhere faster on foot than if they chose to drive or use a public vehicle.
The traffic congestion has badly affected ambulance and fire engine services in the city.
Ganesh Rai attributed the worsening traffic situation to increasing number of vehicles, haphazard road expansion, narrow roads, and insufficient number of traffic personnel. Rai said traffic in he city would become chaotic in the near future if substantial measures are not taken soon to address the problems.
Rai said the lack of coordination among government agencies had compounded the problem of traffic congestion in the Valley.
The Melamchi Water Supply project has been digging up roads and laying water pipes in 40 different places of the Valley. The project digs up about 4 kilometres of roads every day, obstructing vehicular movement and forcing pedestrian to walk on the roads instead of pavements.
Likewise, the Ring Road has been dug up in several places with the ongoing road expansion drive.
Traffic Inspector Sitaram Hachhethu said the traffic police cannot alone manage traffic, if government projects and policies continue to run in an unsystematic manner.
Also, the road network has been extended from 1,319 km in 1995 to 1,596 km in 2016, which is a mere 20 per cent increase in the past 20 years. According to the increasing population density and growing number of vehicles, the road network must have been around 3,000 km long.
Currently, one traffic personnel has to look after around 1,000 vehicles covering a distance of 1.65 km a day, according to statistics provided by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
A version of this article appears in print on December 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.