For the visually impaired
All the new sidewalks that are being constructed in Kathmandu these days show a series of distinctly colored yellow tiles running through the middle of them. It made me wonder what they were. At a point I even started cursing the government in my head, assuming that the tiles were simply objects of decoration, another case of redundant expenditure so characteristic of public projects.
When I saw a group of workers digging along the middle of sidewalk passing in front of my college, I was certain that they were in the process adding those same yellow tiles. It was too much for me, and found myself agitated every time I walked the sidewalk.
Coincidentally, I was surfing the internet one day when I recalled those yellow tiles. On Google I typed ‘Odd yellow tiles on the sidewalk’. Instantly trusty Google displayed answers on the screen. I felt a fat smile form on my face as I read. Immediately I was praising Nepalese policymakers.
The yellow tiles were being laid as part of tactile paving, a special paving used as warning indicator for people who are blind or have partial visual impairment. The tiles come with a distinct texture which the blind people can feel via their cane or shoes and that way they could follow the sidewalk with ease. But this is not the only purpose tactile paving serves.
I also learned that Japan was the pioneer in introucing tactile paving and that the tiles are used as early warning mechanism as well. Change in the texture of the tiles would suggest things like turning ahead, stairs ahead, slope ahead, crossing ahead etc. The primary purpose although remains a medium of directional guidance. In addition, there is a clever reason for coloring the tiles yellow: a distinct yellow would create contrast from the sidewalk so those with partial blindness could see distinguish it.
This was very rejuvenating revelation for me. I am seriously pleased with the government for taking commendable initiative to ease commute for people with visual imparment. I suggest the concerned authority to add tactile paving at all places in the urban centers.
Challenges for reconstruction
One of the major challenges faced in the reconstruction process of Nepal is the absence of elected local government. Lack of government in local level was reflected in the major pre-disaster and post-disaster events, where it took months to reach the affected region and still no widely-accepted data is available. In the absence of an elected local government, top-down approach of governance has its own accountability deficit.
Apil KC/Keshab Sharma
Making sense of Adityanath's rise in Modi's India
The most notorious incitement of communal hatred by Adityanath was his exhortation to 'kill ten woh log ['them' meaning Muslims]' rather than knocking the doors of legal system 'if one Hindu is killed' in riots.
Kathmandu means so much to me, and it looks like for people who promise to be the agent of change for the better, their own names mean a lot. A lot more than Kathmandu it seems.
Identity and nationhood
Whoever says nationhood is not important would be lying. For example, belonging to a particular nation may give certain advantages to a person that one belonging to another nation would not get.
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.