'Melamchi did not dig pit in which schoolgirl drowned'

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People from all walks of life have raised questions over the drainage system of the Kathmandu Valley following the drowning of school-going girl in an open sewer in flooded street on Friday.

Melamchi Water Supply Project that has been digging the streets for laying pipeline to distribute Melamchi water to solve the water scarcity in the Valley was criticized for the incident.

However, spokesperson of the Project Implementation Directorate Leela Prasad Dhakal has clarified that the pit in which the schoolgirl was drowned was not dug by the project. "We've no project of laying water pipes in Samakhusi area now," Dhakal told Setopati, "Laying the water pipes along the 27-km Ring Road's greenbelt was completed one and a half years ago."

Dhakal informed that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba summoned the office-bearers of the directorate at his office to delve into the incident.  

According to him, laying pipes under the project has almost been completed. "Now, only 3 to 4-km main line, and around 30 to 40-km distribution line is left to be installed," Dhakal said, "We've already completed laying pipeline around 610-km long in the Valley."

He further informed that digging  the tunnel to bring water from the river has been stalled for the monsoon. However, other technical works are underway. "Nearly two kilometers of tunnel under the project remains to be dug, and works for distribution process have also reached the final stage," he added.

"We've fixed the old reservoir at Chabahil and Mahankal to start operation immediately after Melamchi water arrives," Dhakal said, "The water will first be used to wash out the reservoirs in the first stage, and distribution will start only after disinfection process."

The government had earlier committed to provide Melamchi water by October. However, Dhakal said that distribution of Melamchi water in the Valley will require some three to four months more.

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