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Synergy of Kathmandu Valley mayors is a need to tackle common problems

The Nepal Weekly
July 18, 2023

The Kathmandu Valley with an area of 360 square km is the most populated section in the country with more than 5 million residents. The capital valley houses central administrative bodies and the centre of all political, social and commercial activities. Most of the best medical hospitals, educational institutions are located within the bowl of 18 municipalities including 2 metropolitan city. This valley has historical, religious, natural and architectural landmarks. The tourists come to Nepal enjoy with its natural setting and cultural activities. People who experienced climates in various parts of the world love Nepal, specially the valley as it is neither too hot in summer and nor too cold in winter where people from any part of the globe can live comfortably in all 12 months.

The valley has hardly experienced survey on its capacity of natural and cultural wealth to be used in an optimised manner. Unmanaged population growths, haphazard uses of land and resources have ruined the beauty of the Kathmandu Valley in last 40 years. Due to excess human encroachment the Kathmandu Valley had turned to grey with dust and smokes from green and clean. The high raisers are uglifying the Kathmandu Valley which has already been turning to concrete jungle. Effective measures therefore sought to introduce in order to save its beauty. Urbanization may be suggested to diversify with satellite city concepts keeping in view the capacity of resources and infrastructures. The Melamchi water to Kathmandu Valley could not have produced a permanent solution so far. In a way it is not enough for the present day population of the valley as forecasted decades before. That will witness wider gap between demand and supply when the water arrives in the valley. Proposed water of Yangri and Larke will be a complementing resource in future.

The water deposit beneath the surface has been said to be excessively pumped out without recharging in Kathmandu. The immediate solution of water shortage was somehow managed but recharging was never thought except by some serious geologists. This might bring disastrous consequence, geologists doubt.

Earthquake is another threat of the country as it had witnessed many times. The Kathmandu Valley was worstly damaged by the earthquake of 1934. The Big Earthquake of 2015 also damaged a lot in the Kathmandu Valley and neighbouring districts. The strong shocks had claimed lives and damaged of properties. Educating people on preparedness in disaster risk reduction has been slow in action. They will not find open spaces for safety if natural calamity takes place. Rescue to would be victims will be hardly possible, experts say. The open places available in the past have been used mostly by public sector institutions erecting building structures for other than institutional purpose as well. The short sighted decision should have addressed as the road widening drive initiated by the government to easier plying of more vehicles.     

The problems other than said above are the common problems for all the municipalities of the Kathmandu valley.The common problems include such as waste management, water supply, sewage, public transportation, public health, land management, maintenance of buildings, temples, monasteries, private residences which carry religious and historical values, river cleaning, air quality control and so on. Their problems many different in amount but all have to face at the same time. Thus, a permanent forum of the local governments of the Kathmandu Valley may be suggested to coordinate to formulate plans and programmes to fight the common problems.

In this connection, Forum of the Kathmandu Valley mayors’ meeting held last April may be recalled. The meeting has elected Mayor of Lalitpur Metrolitan City as its president. The forum has been heard to have discussed in some common agenda in the past also. However, the situation now demands to take the agenda of common problems and implement solutions jointly. The synergised actions can bring effective results where Provincial Government and Federal Government will have to collaborate rather than go for tussles.

A number of opportunities may be created for all 18 municipalities to work together for mutual benefits, ultimately to deliver the best services to the valley residents. The first ever action can reduce the valley air pollution by introducing an adequate number of electric buses to ply from each corner to another corner of the valley by replacing diesel and petrol fueled vehicles. The forum can work out a permanent solution to manage the waste generated in the valley. Similarly it will bring out a solution to a well- managed planning of residents as well as well keeping the cultural heritage alive.

Thus, all municipalities of the Kathmandu Valley need to be work together for common interests and make work easy. Such synergy can even guide administrative norms, financing and even taxation in a harmonised manner. Likewise, strengthening of security systems should one first priority.