2 years ago
A letter to the residents of Kathmandu
I take this opportunity to write to you about a couple of things. These things have already been looked at and heard of multiple times. But I couldn’t hold back my restless feelings from exploding. Sorry for the impatience.
Firstly, I live in the capital city of the country- Kathmandu. I grew up here. Through my growing years I witnessed the different faces of the Valley. From a clean, green and a peaceful valley to exact its opposite: dirty, faded and an overcrowded city. I don’t take great pride in saying so. Back in the early 90s, things were so perfect. There were fewer vehicles. That obviously meant dropped pollution levels. As we proceeded to a new millennium, we got more demanding. We asked for more public vehicles, more factories, and more services. All these meant we wanted development. Well! We weren’t sure how much that ‘Development’ would cost us!!
Today, we have easy access to all those facilities we asked for. World class stores, where our foreign relatives can comfortably stroll through and find the exact product they used back in the UK, USA and Australia. We have superfast internet connectivity. We have bikes and cars, broader roads, and factories across the city. These aforementioned achievements were delivered at a hefty price. The roads may be broader, but not to forget the uncountable potholes on them. The number of vehicles running on the city are on a constant rise. This has resulted in routined traffic jams. It literally takes almost an hour to reach Koteshwor from Naya Baneshwor. Earlier, it hardly took a few minutes. Now, how far have we come? The pollution levels are persistently on the rise. We haven’t had a check and balance system against the increasing vehicle numbers. The population is hitting high, resulting in unmanaged constructions.
Then the earthquake struck. We were cautious for some time. But after all, Life moves on!!! and so did we. The high-rise apartments were empty for about a year. Now, the construction business has taken shape. People easily omitted their past experiences. Initially after the disaster, we were so conscious about the construction materials and the trademarks. We were so much into whether the constructors were abiding to the rules given. And suddenly a couple of years down the line, all that is washed. The same housings that were vacant are now reoccupied. I doubt if they were all demolished and reconstructed as per the standards again!
I was in India for a couple of years. I was amazed looking at the Delhi Metro Project. A city which has almost the same population as the entire country of ours. The city is so congested. But yet, they have managed to construct the metros across the city and its adjoining area, the NCR (National Capital Region).They have managed constructing the metros overhead and underground as well.
I don’t mean we mandatorily need a metro. But at least, let’s manage the transportation system as of now. The government makes a rule, implements it only to be forgotten by end of the next month. Let’s be honest. Let’s answer ourselves. How far have we come? Did we not abandon the ‘Vikram’ tempos from the valley because of its polluted emission? Where are we now? We have let vehicles run across the valley that collectively contributes to God knows what levels of pollution.
The other thing I would mention here is road safety. Safety as passengers and also as passersby. The tripper-terror doesn’t seem to end at all. Many have lost their lives coming under this demon. Again, there have been attempts resulting in rescheduling time tables for heavy vehicles. Now that too doesn’t seem to bring an end to such accidents. As passengers too, we are always on a war with ourselves. Preparing ourselves well before time to catch a microbus and reach the desired destination. And after boarding the bus, if we are lucky enough, only then will we get a seat. Standing and travelling for hours has already been imprinted on our minds as a daily to-do list.
Women’s safety has been an issue for quite some time. The Dhalku-microbus video went viral over the internet. Who would feel safe to travel after looking at such instances? I initially called it a war against our self. How long can one travel in such unsafe modes of transport?
I know, I single- handedly cannot change the entire scenario. But, I can travel as a disciplined passenger. I can at least thank the conductor and the driver for their coordination. I can make my bid to be well mannered and encourage others to do the same. Let’s stop the blame-game and not put everything on the government. Let’s take these baby steps and try making Kathmandu safe, fresh and healthy again.
Hamro Kathmandu haami aafai banaau!!!
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