Govt urged to implement plansAs the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment is set to organise a rally on Wednesday to create awareness among the public to use bicycles in the Valley, stakeholders have said the government lacks ownerships to implement its past decisions on infrastructure development.
As the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment is set to organise a rally on Wednesday to create awareness among the public to use bicycles in the Valley, stakeholders have said the government lacks ownerships to implement its past decisions on infrastructure development.
Bhusan Tuladhar, regional technical advisor at UN-HABITAT, said the ministry should go beyond awareness campaigns and rallies and take leadership to implement the 10-point declaration made in 2013 on cycle-friendly Kathmandu Valley.
The declaration had identified some key interventions and included programmes and initiatives such as provision of cycle lanes and other infrastructures on expanded roads and development of a network of cycle tracks in the Valley. It had also envisioned developing Kathmandu as a cycle-friendly city by 2020, implementing vehicle-free zone in core areas of Kathmandu within 2013 and encouraging key government officials and policy makers to ride cycles on a regular basis.
“Many of us will be more than happy to support the ministry in this initiative if the authorities could think beyond rallies and work on effective implementation of the actions that could encourage more people to use cycles,” Tuladhar said.
The Wednesday’s rally will see the participation of ministers, high-level officials and representatives of various non-governmental organisations, cyclists and electric vehicle owners.
Partha Mani Parajuli, who is the principal engineer at Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads in Australia and has contributed to various workshops on transport sector in Nepal, said that without a dedicated
agency with primary responsibility, the actions mentioned in the declaration have no ownership.
“In order to be effective, each declaration items must have primary responsible agency and supporting
agency, timeframe for delivery and estimated resources towards its implementation,” he added.
In the recent years, some efforts have taken place to encourage people to use cycles inside the Valley. Last year, the government’s road expansion project added a 2.7 kilometer cycle lane along the both sides of the Maitighar-Tinkune road. However, due to inconsistent and non-continuous lanes, poor design and bad choice of paving materials, the lanes are hardly used by cyclists, said Clean Air Network Nepal, an organisation which carried out a brief assessment of Tinkune-Maitighar cycle track.
However, MoSTE Joint-secretary Mahendra Man Gurung, said Wednesday’s programme is one of the few initiatives undertaken to remind and push for the effective implementation of the past commitments. “We have already recommended the ministry officials and government authorities to use cycle as a means of transportation and are working to promote other environment-friendly alternatives,” he said.