PM's 15-day pothole deadline expires

Published On: July 31, 2017 05:00 AM NPT By: Shivahari Ghimire

KATHMANDU, July 30: On Sunday, pedestrians and vehicles were tardily moving along the Kalanki-Sitapaila road stretch, which was muddy and slippery after the rains in the afternoon. They were walking cautiously and slowly. A few traffic police were working with difficulty managing the traffic.

Interestingly Sunday marked the end of the 15-day deadline issued by the prime minister to the authorities to fix Kathmandu's killer potholes. Kalanki-Sitapaila road stretch depicted how well the instruction was being executed by the agencies.

Prime Minister Deuba's instructions had come on after a child died after being swept away by sewarage drain in Nepaltar of Kathmandu while another child who was also swept away by drainage water in Samakhushi about 15 days ago.

However, the authorities concerned have taken the instructions lightly. Lack of seriousness on the part of the agencies concerned has slowed down the pace of road repair in the Valley. In most places, contractors have filled the potholes as a stopgap measure and many potholes have already reappeared.

"Road conditions have not improved much in the 15 days. The agencies responsible for repairs have not even visited this road section," said traffic policeman Hari Bahadur Thapa, who was stationed at Kalanki-Nagdhunga road section. "Had the authorities complied with the instruction, we wouldn't have much difficulty managing the traffic."

According to Chandra Ghimire, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), there has not been much success in executing the prime minister's instructions within the set deadline although the Project Implementation Department, Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation, and Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport worked collaboratively to achieve the target.

"Despite many obstacles, we worked hard to fix the roads. We couldn't fix all the roads," he said. Ghimire further added that many of the agencies concerned failed to send the progress reports to the prime minsiter's office on a daily basis. Joint secretary Damodar Regmi said stern action will be taken against the agencies and officials if they fail to submit the progress reports by Monday, July 31. 

Shiva Hari Sapkota, director of the Central Zonal Regional Directorate, claimed that around 88 percent of of the potholes in the Valley's roads have been repaired. "We could have achieved higher success had there been proper coordination among the departments," he lamented. 

Sapkota informed that roads at Lazimpat-Lainchaur, Panipokhari, Chuchchepati and some other areas have yet to be repaired due to waterlogging. On the other hand, he said road sections at Baneshwar-Purano Baneshwar, Gaushala-Chabahil, Chuchhepati-Boudha, Jorpati-Narayan Gopal Chowk, Golfutar-Shamakhushi-Purano Buspark, Balaju-Narayan Gopal chowk, Lazimpat-Lainchaur, Sundhara-Tripureshwar-Teku, along with other sections have been repaired successfully. He however doubted if the patchwork they have done in a hurry will last long due to the continuous rains.

On the other hand, OPMCM's spokesperson Hari Prasad Panthi said his office cannot say if 88 percent of the work has been completed because the progress reports have yet to come.

Lack of human resources and construction materials have also contributed to the delay in repairing the roads within the deadline, according to officials. According to the OPMCM, 117 workers have been deployed for the work, which is far from sufficient. OPMCM's Secretary Ghimire also said lack of construction materials is another obstacle to meeting the target.

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