Capital

Pedestrians flee as sewage floods city streets

stinking problem

- ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Sanitary sewer overflowed on to the main road of Putalisadak throughout Thursday, disrupting vehicle traffic and compelling students, teachers, and other pedestrians to flee the revolting smell and filth-ridden roads and find alternative routes.

Wastewater flowed on to the streets partly from the Star Mall area and Putalisadak Chowk and came down all the way to Singha Durbar area, according to residents and commuters. But Putalisadak was not the only area in the metropolis taken over by sewage and foul odour. On Friday, Post journalists visited Maitighar, Jamal, Gaushala, and Bir Hospital area, all of which were significantly covered with wastewater.

The sewage problem is most severe in Maitighar, where drains have been leaking sewage on to the roads for the last two weeks. “My business is down because diners avoid this area due to the unbearable stink,” said Prakash Dhakal, who operates a fast food eatery in front of Thapathali Campus.

Traffic police deployed in the area told the Post that they’ve had a difficult time managing vehicle movements when stinking sewage flows on to the road. “The sewage caused heavy traffic jams around Putalisadak area,” said Dinesh Khadka, a traffic police constable assigned in the area.

“My trousers were soaked with the stinking sewage. No one has come to fix it. It is horrible that we have to work in such a place.”

Dozens of pedestrians told the Post they feared to cross the road because speeding vehicles splash filthy water all over.

“This is the fourth year this place has been flooded with wastewater,” said Unnati Bhattarai, a Microbiology student at St Xavier’s College.

The Department of Roads had laid out asphalt on the roads in the Maitighar area for the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) Summit. But less than two weeks later, rain and leaked sewage have peeled off the asphalt. The department had spent Rs30 million on the road work.

Local officials have repeatedly blamed others, instead of taking the responsibility to fix the recurring problem. In an interview with the Post, Department of Roads Spokesperson Mukti Gautam lashed out at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage.

“The asphalt came off because of the sewage,” he said, before adding that the roads office is not responsible for fixing leaking sewers.

The issue of leaking sewage and wastewater has been ongoing for several years, and residents in the Putalisadak and Maitighar areas said they have repeatedly filed complaints at the metropolitan office as well as the department of water supply. But Kathmandu Metropolitan City Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said they were not aware of the problem.

“No one informed us about the problem,” he said, “but now we will fix it.”

Published: 2018-09-08 07:38:01