The government has taken up the much needed work of installing underground electric wires in the Kathmandu Valley. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated the project on Monday. In the first phase, the project will start in Maharajgunj and Ratnapark areas and will be expanded to other areas later on, according to the plan. The project, initiated by Nepal Electricity Authority under Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, is one of the most important undertakings of the government and it must be thanked for it. As a matter of fact, stray wires have not only made the Kathmandu Valley look ugly but also become the cause of frequent short circuits. When the storm and lightning strike, Kathmandu goes dark or power supply is disrupted for hours. Besides, with naked wires running over ground, the chances of accidents and fatalities are also high. Most metropolises in the world have laid the electric wires underground precisely to avoid such accidents. But in Kathmandu, they are everywhere to be seen.
Needless to say, once these wires are managed, Kathmandu will look beautiful. However, this work should have started much earlier, at least last year, so that major works could have been accomplished by now. After all, the plan was announced in February last year. Indian firm KEI Industries Ltd was selected to develop underground power supply system. Back then, it was said that NEA would deploy a new technology called horizontal directional drilling to avoid road digging. It was also said that NEA will also lay down optical fiber and television cables along with power lines. We hope the project will run accordingly. However, while carrying out this project, the government should coordinate with telecommunication office and internet service providers too so that all wires could be laid underground at once and there will be no inconvenience to the public. The trouble with our development in Kathmandu has been that there is no coordination among utility offices. Office of the water supply digs the road for laying water pipes and no sooner this job is done, telecommunication office comes to dig up the same surface. This kind of non-cooperation will hamper the work.
The government should work on this project on a war footing. Since this is happening under NEA, whose Managing Director Kulman Ghising has the tract record of efficient management of the project, it can be hoped that the project will be completed within the stipulated deadline. Prime Minister Oli, while inaugurating the project, is reported to have complained that media has projected him in a bad light and that his good deeds have not been properly reported. There’s no doubt that once this project completes, people will thank him. We would like to see similar initiatives to reduce dust and air pollution in Kathmandu. Add Melamchi water to this and Kathmandu will no doubt be one of the most beautiful cities of Asia. Hats off to the government for taking up this project. We wait for the result.