Delay in restoring roads dug by Melamchi Project troubles valley denizens

Published On: January 2, 2017 12:10 AM NPT By: Ram Saran Tamang

KATHMANDU, Jan 2: Long-drawn out work of the Melamchi Water Supply Project (MSWP) has brought along many difficulties for the denizens of Kathmandu Valley.

Smooth roads in the Valley are difficult enough to find, but deteriorating condition of even the existing roads has made life a nightmare for the valley's pedestrians and motorists alike.

Project Implementation Directorate (PID) of the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd (KUKL) is currently digging roads and laying pipes in at least 32 roads across the valley.

They are also building water tanks in eight places. But these constructions do not require demolishing the roads, informed Lila Prasad Dhakal, spokesperson of PID. 

Although some progress of KUKL's work has brought hope of relief in the Valley's drinking water problem, the denizens are forced to deal with potholes in many of the roads, as PID just fills up the digs with mud and leaves that as it is. 

PID's contract specifically mentions that they have to restore the roads to their previous conditions once the work is complete. That means if a blacktopped road has been dug for the project, they have to blacktop it after the completion of the work.

The Department of Roads (DoR) and PID are jointly responsible for the reconstruction of the roads that have been dug to lay pipelines. While DoR is responsible for reconstruction of the main roads, inner roads of the Valley are mostly looked after by PID. Dhakal said PID shoulders 70 percent responsibility of the roads reconstruction work after the pipe-laying work is completed.

Singhadurbar-Maitighar road section, and inner roads of Anamnagar, Chhetrapati, along with other places, have been left incomplete. However, Dhakal claimed that some road sections have not been brought back to their original forms due to the current cold weather.

"Certain amount of atmospheric warmth is needed for blacktopping the road. As the temperature during the winter drops below the required temperature in the Valley, it is not viable to blacktop the road between December to February-end," said Dahal. "We will start the blacktopping work from March," he said.

But there are also instances where roads have been blacktopped after laying the project's pipes. Roads in Gyaneshwar, Dillibazar and Thaiti among other places have been blacktopped. And most of the roads that connect with the Ring Road have been blacktopped after the completion of the pipe-laying work.

At present, pipe laying tasks of Melamchi project are ongoing in Chabahil, Gaushala, Mitrapark, Baneshwar, Bijeshwari, Ratnapark, Minbhawan and Satobato, among other road sections, according to the PID. 

On a positive note, Dhakal said PID has tasked contractors with conducting feasibility studies for resolving the dust problem. "We are considering whether or not we can afford to lay temporary blacktopping along the affected roads so as to minimize dust. The report will be ready in a week."

MWSP was envisioned by the then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in 1991. The project was finally initiated in December, 2000, with an objective to complete it by 2007. But its completion is expected to take some more years.

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