Men at work
Manholes that are laid along the road often go unnoticed if laid properly. If not, it can either be left depressed or raised, from the surroundings, and reminds its presence bluntly with a nasty jolt. This is a nuisance all right, but it can also get disastrously wrong at high speed. Typically, manholes are openings, with detachable cast iron cover that help provide access to underground sewer lines etc. Such openings help maintenance crew get inside to check or clean. The circular chambers are best suited to bear the heaviest of the traffic load.
One cannot forget the traditional dhal that channelled raw sewage into valley river system and that was it as far as our sewage management went historically. Rana era manhole, with covers worn flat by constant abrasion, can still be seen on some old streets. With overall water supply at the dire level, it is no surprise that managing urban sewage is least of our concerns. It is not uncommon to see stinking liquid oozing from manhole lids flowing freely on the street with sewer line possibly blocked by solid waste of all sizes and shapes.
Incidentally, piped water that we sporadically get, though not “potable”, it is still termed “drinking water” for all intent and purpose. Currently the larger part of our urban area resembles a war zone with bulldozers and mechanical diggers running amok. What is left behind the unfinished work typically consists of mangled water pipes, jumbled up and torn telephone and electric wires, mounds of dug earth and gravel heaps, unfilled ditches and incomplete manholes. The greatest demolition experiment in Kathmandu’s urban history does not seem to end anytime soon as we have Melamchi pumping dust, rather than water, into the atmosphere these days. This may be as true in your case as in mine, no matter where we live. And one wonders where the wire thieves have gone, as no one seems to touch the cable lying around unclaimed?
It is good that heavy equipment are being used in construction these days but despite that pace of reconstruction has remained dismally slow at the best. Either the contractors do not have adequate heavy equipment, given the larger sphere of works, or they follow the usual Nepali laissez-faire practices. In all probability, handling too many jobs at the same time with total disregard to completing works and adherence to terms of contract, if there was one! There are other agencies that need to coordinate works dealing with electricity and telephone poles shifting and making water and storm water connections etc. Who is responsible for levelling the road surface and maintaining it after the pipeline are laid? We have a foot-deep depressions cutting across most of Kathmandu’s heavy traffic streets and no agency seems to be bothered.
The responsibility of overseeing and managing traffic follows next when everything is in place and running. With vehicle ownership rising in leaps and bounds it will be the most challenging task that needs unyielding and constant effort to put an end to roadside parking.
As for the footpath, it is best left unsaid seeing the way they are built. The concrete kerb seems to be set much too high with respect to the finished road surface. This makes it difficult not only for the pedestrians but also for the passage of vehicle of the adjoining property. The pedestrian will not hesitate a second stepping down on to the smooth road surface if that is easier.
Footpaths or sidewalks facilitate pedestrian’s passage alongside a road. These are slightly elevated, not a foot or more high as here, and they ensure safety by totally segregating pedestrians. These need to be perfectly levelled and of decent width. Both of which are, again, not applicable here. Walking on one might even be more hazardous at night if one was to collide with occasional electric post that juts out from nowhere. At times we have piped fences constricting the width even more making them “side no-walks” instead.
That is not all, footpaths also do get encroached upon by roadside shops by dumping their merchandise or get it occupied by placing benches/chairs for people to sit and chat and even to sunbathe in winter. What is the use of all these expansion works - done in the most “inhuman” way possible - if this again leads to road chokes and more discomfort?
By the way, when will the men stop working?
The Doklam dilemma
Being a buffer state between the two giant neighbors, Nepal should conduct its foreign policy vis-à-vis China and India in a very sensitive manner. Nepal has always maintained that it would not allow its soil to be used against any neighbor. At the same time, Nepal should make sure that its own national interests are never compromised.
Gaurab Shumsher Thapa
Effect of monetary policy on risk, stability and financial crises
The crisis of 2008–09 has reignited a new interest in understanding money and credit fluctuations in the macro economy, and the crucial roles they could play in the amplification, propagation, and generation of shocks both in normal times and, even more so, in times of financial distress. This may reopen a number of fundamental fault lines in modern macroeconomic thinking between theories that treat the financial system as irrelevant, or, at least, not central to the understanding of economic outcomes, and those that reserve a central role for financial intermediation.
Repercussions of extreme materialism through the lens of American history
The invaders started embracing community values that helped them evolve from plunderers to freedom fighters. The alliance of the tribes “Iroquois Federate” became the basis for the government system of US that helped resist tyrannical British power for independence.
My Journey to Maiti Nepal
I was scared before I started volunteering, not so much because of the work I would be doing, but of the fact that I would be living alone in a new city where I wouldn’t know anyone except a handful of relatives, with everyone who I was close to on the other side of the world.
Traffic Police in Kathmandu
As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.
Menstrual taboo outdated
I have seen my sisters and friends isolated and treated in discriminatory manner during their first menstruation cycle. They were not allowed to look at the sun, to touch water source, flower, fruits, any male family member, nor even hear their voice. The activist may claim the situation has changed and I do agree but still during every month my loved ones turns into untouchables beings.