A good move or harebrained scheme?

  • Traffic police’s vehicle wash plan
  • Many say it won’t work until authorities fix Capital roads
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
Environmentalist says the plan will work only when Kathmandu roads are well kept, dustless and clean

Jul 5, 2017-Turning a blind eye to waterlogged and muddy roads of Kathmandu, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department (MTPD) said on Sunday that it, in association with Department of Transport (DoTM), would soon enforce a new rule as per which vehicles “must get washed and cleaned” before entering the Capital. 

It did not take long for people to mock the announcement, who called it a harebrained plan, with some even saying vehicles getting out of Kathmandu rather should be washed and cleaned, in an indication to the muddy and dirty roads of the Capital.

“It sounds like a good joke. Every day I have to wash my children’s uniform when they return from school--not because they make them dirty at school but because muddy roads dirty them,” said Gita Rijal, 33, mother of two children, of Chabahil.

Kishore Thapa, an architect and expert on planning and public policy, agrees. 

“This announcement does not hold water. Roads within the Valley should be repaired first and kept clean,” said Thapa. 

MTPD chief Mingmar Lama, however, defended the announcement, saying the plan is aimed at “keeping the city clean”.

Some said the MTPD plan is but what says the old adage: Road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Environmentalist Bhusan Tuladhar showed cautious optimism, saying keeping the city clean is a good idea but “this is not the right time to make such an announcement”.

 “This plan will work only when Kathmandu roads are well kept, dustless and clean,” said Tuladhar. 

The Capital, which in recent times has earned a dubious distinction of one of the most polluted cities in the world, is becoming a difficult place to walk and drive, with lack of footpaths, roads full of potholes and mud here and there since the onset of monsoon. 

Recent diggings for laying water pipelines in different parts of the city have but made matters worse. 

Road sections such as Kalanki-Satungal-Nagdhunga, Tripurshwor-Teku-Kalanki, Chabahil-Sankhu-Jorpati are in a sorry state. MTPD chief Lama, however, said criticism “does not matter”. 

“We, in association with the DoTM, have taken this decision so as to keep the capital’s road clean. It will take time. We have also asked Melamchi Water Supply Project and the Department of Roads to clean the roads,” said Lama.   

The MTPD has said wash centres would be set up in Balaju, Nagdhunga, Dakshinkali and Balaju where vehicles coming from different parts of the country can pay and get washed before entering the Valley. 

Published: 05-07-2017 07:57

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