Rs 5.9b for improving water supply in Valley

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 29, 2016-

The government has announced that the first phase of the diversion tunnel work of Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP) will be completed along with water processing centres within this fiscal year to pave the way for water distribution by October 2017.

Presenting the budget for fiscal year 2016-17 on Saturday, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel allocated an additional Rs5.9 billion for the completion of Melamchi Project.  

The government had earlier claimed that the first phase of the Asian Development Bank-funded project would be completed by April 2017, and that the Valley would 

get 170 million litres of water per day. 

However, the plan could not be materialised due to the devastating earthquake of last year and the Indian blockade.Paudel also announced an ambitious plan of second phase of the MDWP, under which an additional 340 million litres of water will be distributed daily to suburban areas outside the Ring Road by brining water from Yangri and Larke rivers. The government plans to complete the second phase by 2021.

A detailed design of the second phase of the project will be completed within a year, said Krishna Prasad Acharya, executive director at the MDWP. “We have planned to go for the implementation of the second phase of the project next fiscal year.” 

Govt toughens ban on plastic bags

The government has decided to toughen the plastic bag ban campaign in the country, considering its impact on human health, local environment and urban beauty. 

The budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 unveiled on Saturday has stated that the import and export, sales, distribution and use of toxic plastic and polypropylene bags would not be allowed in the country. 

The government has instead encouraged the plastic manufacturers to move towards alternatives to plastics by providing waiver on Value Added Tax for the import of machinery. The manufacturers who want to shift away from the plastic companies will have to pay one percent custom duty. 

In April last year, the Ministry of Environment had enforced the ban on plastic bags with thickness below 40 microns in Kathmandu Valley. 

However, a year on the Valley is still grappling with the challenge in implementing the ban effectively despite the provision of penalty up to Rs 50,000 to those found producing plastic bags. 

Authorities at the Environment Ministry claimed the plastic ban in Kathmandu remained unimplemented due to lack of support and coordination from other concerned ministries, including Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, and Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Agriculture.  

“Without educating people about the negative impacts of non-degradable plastic bags on public health, and offering better alternatives to plastic bags, the attempt to discourage the use of plastic bags that is widely used in day-to-day life isimpossible,” 

said Rama Sharma, a housewife from Lokanthali, Bhaktapur. 

From our past campaigns and decisions taken to discourage the use of plastic bags, we can say that without strict monitoring and commitment from the concerned authorities, and public support to discourage plastics and move towards other alternatives, effective enforcement of the ban remains a big challenge, says Ganesh Shah, former environment minister.

Published: 29-05-2016 08:35

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