July 4, 2018 02:00 AM NPT
KMC stalling waste management
Instead of working to ensure clean air and clean streets for its citizens, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is actually stalling those very actions. Can you think of the mayor who gets elected on promises of clean air, roads and drinking water but does literally nothing on these fronts while the people suffer? Sadly and egregiously, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya of Kathmandu has come to define himself with the very characteristics that general people abhor at best. Shakya has not only been breaking his electoral promises of accomplishing 101 works in the first 100 days (which passed in August 2017), under his leadership, KMC is found to have become accomplice in stalling the vital waste management project in the valley. Under his leadership, KMC has resisted implementation of Integrated Solid Waste Management Project—a public-private partnership model. The draft of Project Development Agreement (PDA) to be signed with NepWaste, a Nepal-Finland joint venture, states that the private sector will not only sweep all the streets and public places but also use the waste to produce fertilizer and electricity. This innovative method of waste management has not taken off because KMC has not given any response on the proposal for the last four months.
KMC is spending millions every year to collect the waste and take it to the dumping sites. The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN), which has already completed negotiations with NepWaste for awarding the project in KMC and nine other municipalities for 20 years, has been waiting for KMC’s approval. All other municipalities in Kathmandu district have already agreed to the proposal. As a result, the project, that is expected to make waste management system efficient, hangs in limbo. What is the intention of KMC and its mayor? Why is it going about spending millions for waste management (Rs 550 million was spent for this cause in the current fiscal year and Rs 540 million has been proposed for the next fiscal year)? Frankly, KMC under Shakya’s leadership has become the most inefficient local government. Valley pollution is deteriorating every single day. A number of international media outlets have portrayed our city in an extremely negative light in their reports because KMC has not been able to do bare minimum in the last 14 months.
Shakya ran for Kathmandu’s mayor promising to solve the problem of traffic congestion and announced ‘Clean City Campaign.’ But it has frequently failed to manage its wastes. What happened to the promise of installing surveillance cameras in every ward office to monitor corruption, setting up internet hotspots at tourist sites, parks and public places and running 20 city buses? Only visible work of KMC has been on the front of distributing smart phones and luxury cars to the officials. All this, and the reluctance to approve waste management project, has proven that Shakya has no concern for wellbeing of the people who elected him. Such alarming insensitivity has already made Shakya a subject of ridicule in social media. He should wake up from slumber and act, or else he will face huge public backlash.