Speed up road repair

There has been a surge in the number of road accidents. News of road mishaps frequently appear in the media. Drunken driving, poor condition of roads and vehicles, and overloaded conveyance are cited as reasons for the rise in accidents. Roads in the hills are also prone to landslides. The combined road length in Nepal exceeds 16,000 km, including 5,000 km stretch of highways and feeder roads. According to a recent data released by the Department of Roads, nearly 600 to 900 people die in road accidents every year and about 2,000 to 5,000 people get injured. About 53 people were killed and 240 wounded in the month of October alone last year due to road accidents. Road repair and maintenance is left incomplete year after year. The traffic jam at the highways is unbelievable now. The worst affected is the Mugling -Narayangad Highway. There should be no delay in the commencement of maintenance work. Also, proper road-signs should be put at the major intersections and the number of hoarding boards should be reduced for it distracts the drivers.

The Eighth Five-Year-Plan that puts emphasis on maintenance of existing roads besides expansion of road facilities to district headquarters and completion of the strategic road network should be pursued more vigorously. Comprehensive and scientific measures must be applied to survey the road network in the hills. Private sector can also be brought to support such activities.

Suraj Khatri, via e-mail

Restore peace

It is unfortunate that the country is not being able to come out of the present political crisis. People are fed up with the on-going insurgency and there is no hope on the horizon. It would be better if all the political forces united and solved the present problem. Peace, stability and security is the need of the hour.

Jesse Lepcha, via-e-mail

Power concern

The year 2004 ended with a major devastation caused by a powerful earthquake and tidal waves that hit the coastal regions of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and others. More than 150,000 people are reported to be dead and millions are left homeless. We must draw lessons from such a catastrophe. Disasters can strike any time. The impact is worsened by shortage of drinking water, disruption of power supply, communications and medical services. People have now taken to photo-voltaic (PV) power to fulfil the immediate energy needs in tsunami-hit areas. Installation of each PV system takes only a day and a continuous power supply can be obtained with the help of this system.

The application of PV system for use in times of disaster is being introduced in many parts of the world. Portable PV power units can be tailored to the emergency clinics. An endless supply of energy from the sun can be converted into electrical energy. Emergency solar power has played a crucial role during the massive earthquake at Bhuj, Gujarat. We should also make available this system for use in times of emergency at home.

Understanding energy needs is important while developing disaster plans. The critical list that assesses damage arising out of earthquake places Nepal in the seventh position and 30th in the flood impact tally. Critical power loads should be separated from the main distribution system. At least important buildings like hospitals and educational institutions should be equipped with renewable energy technology.

Surat K Bam, Institute of Engineering