Perennial delayDelay in the construction and repair of public works is a perennial problem in Nepal. One such project that is taking forever to complete and that is directly affecting public life is the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP).
Delay in the construction and repair of public works is a perennial problem in Nepal. One such project that is taking forever to complete and that is directly affecting public life is the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP). The much-awaited project is considered the most viable long-term alternative to ease the chronic water shortages in Kathmandu Valley, as it is expected to supply 170 million litres of water per day from Melamchi in Sindhupalchok to Kathmandu by October.
The MWSP is responsible for laying water pipelines and constructing storage tanks. The ongoing digging of roadsides to lay the pipelines has exacerbated the problems of traffic congestion and air pollution in Kathmandu.
This led the locals of Chabahil to take to the streets on Monday and protest against the delay in repairing the dug-up road sections. They obstructed vehicular movement for about an hour in the Chabahil-Mitrapark road segment until the police dispersed them. Expressing his anger, one protester said that the pipeline laying work has caused not only air pollution but also severe traffic congestion—so much so that it has become difficult even to walk. He added that the work is affecting his health as well as his business.
Many Kathmandu residents rightly share his anger and frustration, as evidenced by the sheer number of comments on social media decrying the snail-paced work of MWSP and how the delay is adversely affecting their lives.
The work should be given due urgency and expedited. Although project officials claim that the dug-up road sections would be repaired by May, that does not look likely. Of the 28km road sections that the Department of Roads (DoR) has been tasked with blacktopping, it has completed only 3.5km. The blacktopping work has apparently been affected by some old and leaky pipelines, according to an engineer at the DoR.
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, possibly in view of the deteriorating conditions of Kathmandu’s air and roads, recently directed the government to complete the MWSP by the scheduled time. Timely completion of the project will not only alleviate Kathmandu’s water woes, but also relieve its traffic congestion and air pollution.