I moved to Nepal after a corporate life in the United States to grow old with Nepal, not considering the roads and certainly not knowing that I might get myself killed here. Thousands of meticulously calculated tenders are flying around offices, government bids and policies: Does any of them care about lives? Hardly!
It seems the “federal” government still has centralizing tendencies and is centralized only within the vicinity of the capital, especially around Baluwatar, with its undivided attention to the not-so-worthy dictator hunt. Wasn’t the Constitution and the carnage meant for the people?
Shockingly, Nepal has seen so many road fatalities that its daily average death toll has risen to 8, let alone its casualties (20 on average). Officials are so busy, or should I say busier, in their party’s never-ending conflict that they have forgotten about the under-construction roads and bridges outside the capital.
Like the conflicts, if road deaths become a never-ending series, it will not just impact transportation. The impacts will go on to range from developmental challenges to economic decline, resulting in poorer conditions for the people. The deaths are also higher in number than natural disasters around the country and are affecting economically productive age groups. In a country where both air and land transportation are challenged, one of them needs a paradigm shift on a fundamental level.
Road accidents horrify, maim and demotivate people from living a proper life. Ironically, the directive principles of the constitution outline and promise to protect the lives of the people, but given the pace, some of us might never be able to see a proper road.
It is obvious the road conditions are much worse than our unsettled political status quo: last-minute ministers’ citizenship issues; party alliances; and the double-dealing “chair”. Real people are dying. It is imperative that we do something, that “they” do something.