Summit is over, think of Valley residents

Published On: September 2, 2018 02:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit has concluded successfully, so far as the commitments, pledges and resolutions are concerned. Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli has stressed on implementation of agreements to realize the goals envisioned by BIMSTEC nations, outlining the need for all members to play their roles and take “decisive steps” to bring visible changes and prosperity in all the member states. We have an 18-point Kathmandu Declaration that expresses commitment to abide by the principles BIMSTEC envisioned during its inception in 1997. The member states have affirmed the commitments to strengthen mechanisms and implement the agreements that have been reached. Importantly, they have also signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. Even if some of these promises are realized before the next summit, they will certainly contribute to peace, prosperity and wellbeing of the member countries. 

As the summit is over, one of the extremely pressing concerns for the general public will be about the situation of roads in Kathmandu. Government authorities sprang into action to repair the roads and decorate the Kathmandu Valley for BIMSTEC summit. Some of the road sections were blacktopped overnight. Across many road sections, temporary maintenances continued for days before the summit. Workers were mobilized by the Department of Road to repair footpath and drainage systems. They painted the divider lines and zebra crossings. Though Kathmandu was relatively clean for four days, our cleanliness efforts could not completely cover the filth in the Valley. Even during the summit, one could see billows of dusts blowing in the air as the participating delegates travelled along the roads. So Kathmandu residents are not sure if these “clean” streets will remain clean even for a week. For, we have seen during such occasions, that these temporary fixings peel off soon and we will be back to the dirt, dust and filth. This is not the city we all want to see and live. 

We saw similar things during the SAARC summit in 2014. Valley roads were blacktopped, divider lines painted and major parks and intersections beautifully decorated. Once the summit was over and after the delegates went home, everything was back to square one. The way our cities are decorated during the mega events speaks of the mentality of our rulers. They think that things should be kept in order only during the visits of international VVIPs and that when the events are over people can bear with any troubles. This is irresponsible thinking. Why must it be that residents of Kathmandu Valley get to see clean cities only during the visits of the VVIPS? Why should they be forced to live with dusts and dirt rest of the time? The initiatives the government authorities took to maintain cleanliness must continue. Residents of the Valley have paid taxes to the authorities for better roads and drainage. This is an insult to the people who pay taxes and live here. How is it that our system goes into hibernation throughout the year and springs into action in emergencies like the BIMSTEC summit? Why can’t these systems be activated 12 months a year? We deserve better and we can do better than placing billboards to hide our filth and shame in this city. 

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