July 25, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

KMC Mayor is right or wrong, Kathmandu must be livable and lovable

The Nepal Weekly
April 29, 2023

Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Balendra Shahhad asked the Federal Government to shift Singha Durbar from KMC to any other place if the government does not want to work in the interest of Kathmandu.

The mayor has instructed not to collect garbage generated in Singha Durbar premises where Federal Ministries are located including the Prime Minister’s office and Shital Niwas, the President’s official residence and office. He stated his instruction on social media. He also said that the citizens of Kathmandu would not oppose offices of the federal capital inor out of Singha Durbar being moved from Kathmandu metropolis. Singha Durbar alone generates 5 metric tons of solid waste in day to collect.

Mayor Shah added that he needed civilisation; culture, art, history and more than politics as all the Kathmanduites look for.

For non-cooperation to KMC, he charged against 14 Federal Ministries through social media previous Monday.This statement was in defence to his decision not to collect garbage from Singha Durbar and Shital Niwas. Giving an explanation, he wrote on social media that the decision was an outcome of negligence, lack of responsibility and carelessness on part of the Federal Government. He also had stated how the said ministries turned deaf ears.

However, the action to stop garbage collection from the sensitive places was taken after the dispute between Mayor Shah and the Federal Government over demolition of squatters of Gairigaun area, near the Tribhuvan International Airport. The Government was not cooperating at the squatters clearing attempt of KMC at Thapathali, at the Kathmandu side of the Bagmati river a few months back too.

Kathmandu Mayors in the past also had shown their dissatisfaction over the behaviour of the Government mechanism. A few years ago collected garbage was piled up at the main gate of Singha Durbar to draw the attention of the decision makers on waste management issues.

Mayor Shah’s recent move has been labelled as anarchy as garbage collect is the must to do for the local government, Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha had expressed. He also had warned to stop the move immediately.

However, the Kathmanduites consider that KMC Mayor Shah is right or wrong, Kathmandu must be livable. That means, the Federal Government and Provincial Government should cooperate to KMC and other local governments.

Some moves initiated by KMC under Shah’s leadership remained inconclusive and Kathmandu dwellers were not happy by the outcomes. Excavation of Tukucha tunnel built more than one hundred years, clearing the Bagmati river side land occupied by squatters, demolishing of unauthorised buildings or sheds on by encroaching public land are few to name. Even then the KMC people stand with Shah for the cause of making the Metropolis ‘livable and lovable’.

It is to note that the problems faced by KMC are the common problems of other local governments of the Kathmandu Valley.

The problems surfaced are air pollution, land management, population management, unmanaged urbanisation, transportation management, water supply, cleaning of rivers, health and hygiene aspects, restoration of forests and open spaces and so on. Similarly others to be added are maintaining the natural and cultural heritage of the valley. The traditions of the native ethnic communities are now at the risk so that preservation is a need. Thus, Kathmandu Valley Mayors’ Forum which now has been led by Lalitpur Metropolitan City Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan Shah should support KMC move. That means Shah should work out with other local governments of the valley.

Moreover, the forum must be able to create an amicable ambience between the higher level governments and KMC keeping in view the agenda of Livable Kathmandu at centre.

The tussle must not go longer. So as the leaders who rule the country from Singha Durbar need to understand that waste collection in the valley if stopped as of last summer can create much serious health problems in the valley dwellers. They need to cooperate KMC and others to make the valley well managed, organised, pollution free, users friendly electric public transportation system, uninterrupted quality electricity supply, clean rivers, restoration of open spaces and preservation of heritage sites, cultural values of the native residents and so on.

For all above mentioned to bring into reality, the political leaders and leaders at governing positions should create ample political spaces to the Kathmandu Valley Mayors’ Forum with wider rights, duties and an appropriate status.

The leaders might have thought to topple Balendra Shah from KMC top seat. That may be easier as Shah is an independent winner while 19 out of 34 ward chairs belong to Nepali Congress and Nepal Communist Party (UML) also has a good number of ward chairs. But, there is no provision to unseat by voting or boycotting or some other move.

Legal experts says are relevant to remember that there are no constitutional or legal clauses that can force a mayor to quit. Article 216(8) of the Constitution specifies how the offices of the mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairperson or member can become vacant.

The position becomes vacant only “if the mayor tenders resignation in writing to the deputy mayor, and if the deputy mayor tenders resignation in writing before the mayor, (b) if his or her term of office expires, (c) if he or she dies.”