Call for integrated development of Kathmandu Valley

Published On: July 6, 2016 03:30 AM NPT By: Gyan P Neupane  | @GyaNeupane

KATHMANDU, July 6: Some government bodies and political leaders have proposed developing Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts as an integrated single unit so as to upgrade the entire Kathmandu Valley as a greater metropolitan city.

They believe that presence of multiple agencies to carry out developmental works within the valley has resulted in lack of coordination among bodies responsible for road development, urban planning, waste management, water distribution and some other works related to urban infrastructure.

At present, a total of 22 different municipalities exist within the Valley covering an area of 570 square kilometer.

Lawmaker Rameshwar Phuyal has been lobbying to develop Kathmandu Valley as a single political unit so that development activities could be carried out independently in a holistic approach.

“The entire valley is surrounded by four hills--Shivapuri, Phulchwoki, Chandragiri and Nagarkot--and a few rivers flow through it,” Phuyal said. “I think these situations are favorable for developing the entire valley as a single unit.”Phuyal, a lawmaker from Kathmandu-3, expressed his frustration over the authorities' reluctance to heed his proposal. “I have been raising this issue consistently for the last 10 years.”

Citing the failure of existing separate bodies in carrying out effective and coordinated development projects, he said a single powerful body can be effective in transforming the valley into a well-planned capital city.

Representatives from 22 municipalities situated within the valley had come up with the proposal to transform the entire Kathmandu Valley into an integrated metro city. Officials and political representatives from the valley-based 22 municipalities jointly issued a 10-point “Godawari Declaration 2072,” from a gathering around six months ago and vowed to lobby for the issue strongly.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), the country's only metropolis is also supporting the idea, had organized the discussion at Godawari.

Executive Officer of KMC Rudra Singh Tamang said that, if the Kathmandu city is to be developed as the central capital city under the federal system, the integrated body becomes necessary. “The entire valley has a similar geography. It should be planned and developed through a single body,” Tamang told Republica.

Meanwhile, the government had also sought suggestions from the commission formed to demarcate local bodies in line with the new federal set up about developing the valley as an integrated single unit.

Niraj Shah, a member of the commission, informed that they have been holding discussions on identifying the feasibility of developing the valley into a single body.

“Lots of researches have already been conducted on developing the valley into an integrated capital city,” he informed. He said that the constitutional body will give proper solutions soon.

Engineer Surya Raj Acharya, who specializes on infrastructure planning, said that Kathmandu would be better developed as greater Kathmandu Valley metropolis if led by a powerful authority headed by an elected leadership.

“The current 22 municipalities should be transformed into administrative units and the entire development works inside the valley should be led by an independent authority," he said.

Acharya claimed that separate 22 municipalities have proven useless from development perspectives.

“Manila city of the Philippines had already faced the problem that we have been facing currently in our capital. Now, they have developed the Greater Metro Manila as a single governing and development body to tackle poor development works,” he added.

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