Solar lamps along Singha Durbar, Bhadrakali start working after a yearAfter nearly a year, the solar lamps in front of Singha Durbar, the nation’s administrative hub, have finally been repaired. Twenty-four solar lamps have started lighting the street since Friday, finally relieving pedestrians of the inconvenience the road, which would otherwise be engulfed in darkness, had been causing.
After nearly a year, the solar lamps in front of Singha Durbar, the nation’s administrative hub, have finally been repaired. Twenty-four solar lamps have started lighting the street since Friday, finally relieving pedestrians of the inconvenience the road, which would otherwise be engulfed in darkness, had been causing.
The solar lamps from Singha Durbar to Bhadrakali were set up by Laxmi Care, a NGO set up by Laxmi Bank, five years ago. The nonprofit had also installed solar lamps in other places such as the Bagmati bridge in Thapathali and Patan Durbar Square. Lamps in both the places are currently non-functioning.
Talking to the Post Laxmi Care’s Chairperson Bharati Pande said, “We didn’t know the problem earlier, but now that we do we are going to repair the defunct lamps in the remaining places.” She denied disclosing the total amount of cost spent on repairing the solar lamps. “We changed all the batteries at Singha Durbar. The cost has gone really high, but since it’s a part of our corporate social responsibility, service comes first, and the money doesn’t matter,” she added.
However, while the Singha Durbar stretch is finally lit up, over two dozen street lamps along the Singha Durbar Putalisadak road section
still have not been fixed. They have been lying defunct for nearly a decade.
“I am happy the lamps are working in the VVIP street now, but if you look at Putalisadak, you will see that none of the lamps are in a working condition,” said Binu Shah, 43, who has been running a cold store in Bhadrakali for the past decade.
The responsibility of fixing the old solar lamps that lie on the way from Singha Durbar to Putalisadak rests on the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC)’s shoulders, but till date it has not shown any interest in repairing it. The lamps had been installed by Japan’s government fund.
In 2016, the metropolis had signed an agreement with BK Traders and Suppliers to install 1,285 solar-powered street lamps in different part of the metropolis. Till date, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has installed 1,700 solar lamps in Kathmandu Valley under the Asian Development Bank’s project with an estimated cost of Rs250 million.
However, hundreds of the installed solar lamps are not in a working condition. Many of them are covered with dust, and neither the KMC nor the NEA, who are responsible for installing the solar lamps, have deployed their staff to repair the lamps.
Both authorities are playing the blame game and not taking responsibility of fixing the lights. NEA officials say it is KMC’s responsibility to repair all the non-functioning lamps, but the metropolis does not seem keen on taking up the job.
The KMC’s negligence towards fixing the solar lamps comes despite it stating
multiple times that ‘Ujyalo Kathmandu’ is its topmost priority. The ‘Ujyalo Kathmandu’ is an initiation undertaken by the KMC to install solar lamps on all streets and inner alleys of the metropolis.