Citizens grope in darkness

  • KMC and NEA squabble over defunct street lights at Singha Durbar
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Nov 24, 2018-

The entry point of Singha Durbar, the country’s administrative headquarters, continues to remain in darkness every night because of defunct solar lamps on the street.

Lackadaisical government authorities twiddle thumbs while pedestrians grope in the darkness on the street. Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA)--the two authorities responsible for repairing the lights-blame each other instead of fixing the problem.

Darkness engulfing the country’s VVIP road, that leads to the offices of Nepal’s prime minister and other ministers indicates what would be the state of lights on the city’s other streets.

KMC and the NEA data shows 3,400 solar lamps installed across the Valley, but many do not work and need repairs.

“None of the lights works here since the last six months,” said Binu Shah, 43, who runs Sumitra Cold Store in Bhadrakali since last one decade.    

When the Post inquired with the KMC why the solar lamps are not repaired, KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said, “NEA has to do maintenance or replace the lamps in Singha Durbar. We did not install the solar lamps. The KMC only does maintenance of solar lamps in the inner part of the metropolis. We do repair those that do not work.”

Responding to similar query, NEA Project Manager Nutan Dev Bhattrai said, “The authority no more works for the maintenance of the solar lamps. NEA did not installed the solar lamps in Singha Durbar.”

The NEA has installed 1,700 solar lamps in Kathmandu Valley under Asian Development Bank’s project with the estimated cost of Rs 250 million Bhattrai said.

The darkness has not only caused inconvenience for pedestrians at night. It has also caused problems for traffic police in the area.

Traffic Police Chief SSP Basanta Panta said, “This is a very sensitive issue.  Traffic police find it difficult to work in the area because solar lamps do not work. Half a dozen traffic police are deployed in Singha Durbar and Bhadrakali areas at night

The government is also unable to replace nearly a decade old two dozen solar lamps that are defunct along the Singha Durbar-Putalisadak road.

Despite Post’s report exposing the authorities’ callous attitude, published on September 4, they have not replaced or repaired a single malfunctioning solar lamp.

In 2016, the KMC had signed an agreement with BK Traders and Suppliers to install 1,285 solar-powered street lamps in different parts of Kathmandu. 

Last year in June, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development had allocated Rs 500 million to 143 municipalities across the county to install 45,308 solar street lamp along 1,00-km roads in the country. 

Published: 24-11-2018 07:36

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