Kathmandu city officials fixing pavements that don’t need fixing, locals allegeWard representatives, however, say they are utilising the budget, and accusations against them are politically motivated.
Officials from Kathmandu Metropolitan City are removing paving stones, and repaving alleys even when it’s not necessary, just to finish the allocated budget, locals complain.
The ongoing construction work has affected people ferrying vegetables and those going on morning walks, locals from Mahaboudha area at the heart of the city, who have seen officials work on the alleys since Saturday said..
Locals say that it’s not just this year that officials are fixing things that don’t need fixing. “Every year they change the stones even when they are not damaged,” said Nabin Pradhan, 37, who owns a wholesale electric shop. “They [city officials] are doing it so that they can earn a commission from the work,” added Pradhan.
When the Post visited Mahaboudha on Wednesday morning, officials from Ward No. 27 had deployed workers to remove paving stones and repave an alley behind Bir Hospital.
“Was it necessary? This is their way of earning extra money?” said Devi Manandhar, 43, a resident at Mahaboudha. “Instead of wasting money on such futile tasks, they could have invested in maintaining present greenery in the city,” said Manandhar.
The ward office has also been repaving alleys in Jyatha and Chadani Galli, where locals say the pavings don’t need fixing.
When the Post contacted Chiniya Man Bajrachara, chair of the ward, he denied allegations the work was being done for commissions.“ It’s just an accusation. They [local people] are making it a political issue,” said Bajracharya. “We are at the end of this fiscal year, so we are utilising the money we have to fix the alleys,” he said.
The ward office received Rs 15 million from Kathmandu Metropolitan City as its budget for the 2019-2020. “Now we have 1.2 million left, and we are working on repaving the inner alleys because it’s easy to work during the lockdown as people are not moving around.”
According to the city’s Department of Physical Development and Construction, eight wards are carrying out development works such as laying of drainage pipes, paving of alleys and cleaning of roads during the lockdown.
Ram Thapa, chief of the department, said at present development works worth Rs 750 million are going on in different wards: 6, 11, 14, 15, 16, 21, 26 and 31.
“Due to the lockdown, it’s easy to do such work. We have not heard of irregularities, we will take action if we find any irregularities,” said Thapa.
Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a heritage activist and local of Basantapur, said officials are in a hurry to finish their budget at the end of every fiscal year.
“This is a perfect time to repair the inner alleys and historic and culturally important places such as Asan, Indra Chowk because the roads are empty. But in some places they are dismantling the pavement of an entire area, even when only a certain section needs repairs,” said Shrestha.