Locals of Patan worried about sewage backflow during monsoonDespite the problem recurring for over a decade, authorities have done little to solve drainage problems in the area.
On the evening of May 29, Suman Bajracharya, 27, was inside his handicraft shop in Kwalkhu when it started pouring. In no time the narrow asphalted road outside his shop got flooded with knee-deep water. Bajracharya realised the sewage drains were blocked, and soon, the water started gushing into his shop, he says. His scooter was swept away, some 100 metres from his shop.
Four other motorcycles parked in the Kwalkhu area were swept away that day.
“My neighbours helped save my scooter. We held onto it and managed to tie it to an electric pole with a rope,” said Bajracharya.
For over a decade now, every monsoon hundreds of people living in Lalitpur have been suffering from inundation. And with the monsoon here, locals are worried what that will mean for them, as they say streets from Lagankhel to Patan Durbar Square, from Kumaripati to Baglamukhi temple as well as in Ekantakuna and in Gwarko get flooded every year.
Sunday evening’s rain also brought in a lot of problems. “Since my house is on a slope, the water from a leaked sewage coupled with the rain enters my house,” says Bhai Ratna Bajracharya, 63, a local, and in-charge of Golden Temple (Hiranya Varna Mahabihar) in Kwalkhu. “This happens every monsoon, but the concerned authority has done nothing to solve this problem.”
The story of every local living in the area is almost identical. “This is a tourist spot, and when it rains, the drain water and logged streets terrify everyone including visitors,” said Anil Manandhar, who works as a local guide for Patan Durbar Square. “The current of the rainwater and the sewage leak is so strong during monsoon that it sweeps away motorbikes parked on the streets. Shops cannot remain open because of the rain.”
Manandhar said that neither the Lalitpur Metropolitan City nor the Department of Roads has taken any action to solve the problems faced by the locals.
“Every monsoon, we read about the dangerous roads and flooding in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur but nobody talks about the problems faced by the locals of Lalitpur. The media must draw the attention of the concerned authority to our problems,” said Manandhar.
The unmanaged sewage drains, water-clogged streets and open manholes in Lalitpur while affecting locals is also creating traffic snarls along the major arteries of the district. On Sunday, traffic was obstructed for two hours due to the leakage of a sewage drain in Ekantakuna. This was because the traffic was moving at a snail’s pace on the Kumaripati-Lagankhel stretch. Inspector Rajesh Silwal, who is also the chief of Lalitpur Police Range, said unmanaged sewage and drains heavily affects traffic in the core areas of the district.
“When it rains, pedestrians have to jump over huge puddles created by sewage water on the roads mostly in Kumaripati, Ekantakuna, Lagankhel and Jawalakhel,” said Silwal.
“Our personnel have to get into knee-deep water to rescue motorcycles, four-wheelers and sometimes even pedestrians.”
When the Post contacted Chiri Babu Maharjan, mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, he said that the city has already started to work towards resolving this problem permanently.
“Unmanaged drainage and overflowing sewage are two of the biggest problems faced by the city’s denizens for years now. That is why we are currently coordinating with Asian Development Bank to lay down drainage pipes along the 2.8-km stretch from Lagankhel to Patan Durbar Square, via Kumaripati,” said Maharjan.
He said that the City has allocated Rs 540 million for the project. “Next year onwards, people will not have to suffer,” said Maharjan.