Authorities trade blame while darkness prevails at Singha DurbarFor the last one year the road in front of Singha Durbar, the nation’s administrative hub, plunges into darkness at night because the concerned authorities have done nothing either to replace or repair the defunct solar lights.
For the last one year the road in front of Singha Durbar, the nation’s administrative hub, plunges into darkness at night because the concerned authorities have done nothing either to replace or repair the defunct solar lights.
Neither the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) nor Laxmi Bank, the private lender that installed the solar lights on this road, has taken the responsibility of fixing the solar lights.
Laxmi Care, a NGO set up by Laxmi Bank, installed the solar powered lamps on the road in front of Singha Durbar five years ago.
The solar lights have been out of order for almost a year now. On November 24, the Post published a news report highlighting the dangers and inconvenience pedestrians face due to the darkness in the area. Despite the Post’s crusade against civic officials’ apathy, the problem of non-working lights persists.
When the Post contacted KMC’s Chief Executive Officer Yadav Prasad Koirala last week, seeking the status of the solar lights, he had assured of repairing the defunct lamps. When the Post called him this week, he said, “The metropolis could not repair the solar lamps because the cost was too high. If it was a single lamp post, then the metropolis would repair it, but there are nearly two dozen. We have already informed Laxmi Care about this issue. If they are not going to repair then we will install new lights.”
The NGO denies receiving any information from KMC. Laxmi Care Chairperson Bharti Pande confirmed their office has received no such information. “We acknowledge that there is a maintenance issue about lights on the Singh Durbar road. We will set a separate budget for the maintenance work,” said Pande, who is also the head of strategy and marketing at Laxmi Bank. The NGO had spent around Rs 4 to 5 million to install the lamp posts in the area.
KMC’s Ward-11 chairperson Hiralal Tandukar said, the solar lamps cannot be repaired because they do not have the means to do so. The solar lamps Laxmi Care installed on Bagmati Bridge in Kupondole also do not work, he said.
“If you can find someone who can repair the street lamps, then the ward is ready to repair them,” said Tandukar.
“Earlier, I had taken the step to repair them after receiving many complaints from the residents of my ward. These solar lamps cannot be repaired, they need to be replaced.”
The KMC and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) data show a total of 3,400 solar lamps installed across the Valley, but many do not work, and need repairs.
The fact that darkness engulfs the country’s most important road, one that leads to the offices of Nepal’s prime minister and other ministers should make us question what is the state of lights on the city’s other streets.
The darkness in the area has not only caused inconvenience to pedestrians at night—it has also caused problems for traffic police deployed in the area.
Traffic Police chief SSP Basanta Panta said, “This is a very sensitive issue. Half a dozen traffic police personnel are deployed in the Singha Durbar-Bhadrakali area at night. It is very tough for the traffic police to work in this area in darkness.”
Will the civic authorities put the lights, please?