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Ban on poly-bag unlikely to succeed in want of alternatives


KATHMANDU, May 29: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is set to impose a ban on the use of polythene bags in the capital from mid-June. But unless there´s an easily available alternative to the poly-bags, the ban is unlikely to succeed.

As per the Nepal Plastic Manufacturers´ Association (NPMA), more than 40 plastic industries produce 50 tons of poly-bags every day in the Valley. The demand across the country crosses 300 tons on a daily basis, whereas the manufacturers of polythene bags pay Rs 600 million in taxes to the government every year.

To discourage the use of plastic bags, the KMC has placed an order with a company to supply 21,000 environment-friendly bags before the mid-June deadline. The administrative officer of the Environment Division of the KMC Ganesh Thapaliya said that the company has already supplied 14,000 bags and additional 7,000 pieces would be delivered in few days.

The metropolis, however, has yet to decide whether to sell the bags to the shopkeepers or distribute them free of cost just for raising awareness, said Thapaliya.

In such a situation, even the proponents of poly bag prohibition are doubtful of the KMC´s success in implementing the program effectively. The non-government organizations which are already working on restricting the plastic bag say the metropolis needs to realize that no campaign can be successful until all stakeholders come together.

Pradip Khatiwata, chief of Force Nepal, the organization that successfully restricted the use of polythene bags at Sali River, Sakhu during a month long Swasthani Puja last year, said that the KMC officials brushed him off when he met them to show his organization´s willingness to coordinate in their effort to curb the use of plastic bags.

On the other hand, the companies that produce non-polythene bags in the Valley said that the metropolis has not asked them to increase the production though the ban has been scheduled.

The companies are not eager to supply environment-friendly bags to the market as the awareness level is still very low among people about the benefits of such bags and they may not be willing to pay Rs 30 to Rs 65 to purchase such bags, said Damodar Acharya, director of Saugat Enterprises.

The government needs to provide subsidies to the manufacturers of such bags so that they can make the products available at reasonable price in market, he claimed. The company had won the bid for supplying environment-friendly bags to the KMC in November.

“There is limited demand of fiber, nylon or paper bags since the people are not habituated to carry them all the time,” said Acharya.
The customers turn to another shop if she does not provide them polythene bags to carry vegetables, says Gita Ale Magar, who runs a vegetable shop at New Baneshwar. She hardly believes that the reusable bags could replace the poly-bags so soon.

Action against violators defined vaguely

The Solid Waste Management Act, 2011, states that Rs 500 can be fined to an individual using poly-bag and Rs 1000 to the producers once a ban is imposed at a particular municipality. However, the Chief of KMC Environment Division Rabin Man Shrestha said that the KMC would not take action till one month after the prohibition comes into force. The KMC council would decide the punishment, he said.

Meanwhile, the Hamri Bahini Shopping Bag project under the Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI) is working to make people habituated to using the environment-friendly bags made of jute, paper and newspapers, said Prashanta Singh, founder and CEO of the HCI. Around 30,000 shopping bags have been supplied to all five branches in the Valley.

“The ban would be impracticable unless people have alternatives,” he said.
The KMC on July 2011 declared ban on poly-bag less than 20 microns aiming to make the city poly-bag free within two years. In 2000, the then mayor of Kathmandu Keshav Sthapit had attempted to ban the plastic bags which could not be formulated following a mandamus issued by the Supreme Court to first prove the hazards of plastic on human beings and environment. The apex court was responding to a writ filed by a plastic manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the plastic bag producers are confident that the KMC´s move would not succeed again. NPMA Chairman Shailendra Lal Pradhan said the government should focus on managing the right use of plastic which would be more reasonable rather than putting a complete ban.
“Even medicines if not used properly cause harm,” said Pradhan. “Plastic production will continue to rise based on demand from public.”

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-05-30 01:29:30

Utprerana school on the verge of shutting down



Women studiyng in the school (2)

Gyani Karki was 50 when she enrolled in school for the first time. But Karki, who is now 60 and has appeared in the SLC exam of this year, is saddened to know that her school is hardly managing to sustain itself.

The Utprerana School that has been helping the housewives and uneducated woman laborers to study since 2004, is now on the verge of collapse due to lack of budget. The Tinkune-based school, established nine years ago, has currently 235 students from class one to 10. Like Karki, all the current students want to continue their study, which may not be possible if the school gets closed due to financial crunch.

The school authorities say that they had more students seeking admissions in the previous academic sessions, but that the number has declined this year as they have been struggling to manage adequate infrastructures at the school. Though they have sought support from government authorities, neither the Education Ministry nor the Department of Education has done much to address their problem till date.

“Our students don´t have time to go to picket ministries or government departments. Perhaps this is the reason their woes remains unaddressed,” says Gaura Upretty, founder principal of the school. “We had 350 students last year, but we have lost our students due to lack of infrastructures.”
Though the government has been conducting non-formal education classes for people who are 15 years of age or above, people across the country, particularly, women felt that the short-term adult classes were not fulfilling their dreams of continuing studies and pursuing higher education.
Thus, the school got full shape soon from their own small investments. “We felt our effort was bearing fruits after we received 40 middle-aged students within a month,” said Upretty. Likewise, the student enrollment swelled to 350 in a year.

Following the financial crisis, the teachers have not been paid for the last three months, Uprety mentioned. The school pays Rs 30,000 per month in rent. The total cost of running the school reaches Rs 1,20,000 every month, said Sumitra Mainali, acting principal of the school. The school charges Rs 300 to Rs 500 in fees.

There are 14 teachers who teach various subjects in two shifts. According to Mainali, those students who can manage time at morning hours come early, whereas most of the housewives choose to be day-scholars, as they come to school after completing all household works.

Karki, who originally hails from Sindhupalchok district, had enrolled in grade 1 in this school when her youngest son had passed SLC the same year. But now she is confident to pass SLC with average marks and get admission at plus two level.

“The government should not let such institutions die as they help empower the poorest of the poor women,” she pleaded with the government.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-05-20 02:17:26

Sign of improvement in Valley transport system: To get better with wide roads, better services



When Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) started night bus service in the capital from mid-August last year, the deal between the government and transport entrepreneurs was to operate the service for a trial period of six months.

As the initiative turned out to be successful, the KMC decided to extend the contract by another three months, which is coming to an end in May.

The metropolis had provided the entrepreneurs the budget necessary for operating the service for the trial phase and now the entrepreneurs are lobbying for extending the service for another six months.

“The night bus service has been able to fulfill the goal with which it was introduced,” said Dharma Rimal, chairperson of the Bagmati chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Transport Entrepreneurs (FNTE).

“The presence of armed police personnel in the vehicles has made the service safe even for female passengers,” shares Urmila Shrestha of Koteshwar, who runs a business at Kalanki.

The overhead bridge of Kaushaltar. (Photo: Nirjana Sharma)

Another sign of marked improvement in public transport is the reoperation of the Sajha buses. The Sajha buses, which began plying the Valley roads from the 60s, went off the road about a decade ago.

Just as in the past, the newly operated Sajha buses seem to have won public trust quickly with their reliable and good service.

They are also setting right the wrong practices of other public vehicles. The Sajha buses take in passengers and let them get down only at designated stops, unlike the other public buses and minibuses.

The staffs of Sajha are not new but have earlier worked in Valley public transports. They were made to undergo a training on traffic rules and were instructed to follow the code of conduct prepared by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.

After the Sajha bus staff received widespread appreciation from public for their service, other transport entrepreneurs have requested the MTPD to train their employees on behavioral change.

Rimal, the Bagmati chapter chairman of FNTE, mentioned that the MTPD had organized three-day training for the staff of the Sajha buses to teach them, among other things, to be respectful to passengers.

However, just a week after the Sajha buses begin plying the Valley roads, other public transport entrepreneurs, filed complaint at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) seeking cancellation of Sajha´s permit to operate from Airport premises. But the DoTM officials settled the issue allowing Sajha buses on the Airport route.

Operation of Sajha buses on the route has relieved domestic as well as international passengers as they no longer have to deal with the whims of taxi drivers.
There is also a widespread concern that the Sajha busses are vulnerable to attacks during protests and general strikes as the buses do not stop service even during strikes.

The Koteshwor-Suryabinayak six-lane highway. (Photo: Nirjana Sharma)

Chandra Phuyal, director of the DoTM, says that anyone who attacks or vandalizes the public vehicles cannot be prosecuted under the law as per the existing Motor Vehicles and Transportation Management Act 1993.

“We do not have legal provisions to take strict action against those who vandalize public vehicles. The maximum punishment that one gets for such offense is 24 days in judicial custody,” said Phuyal.

He added that route permit for a public bus to operate directly from Airport is a milestone in the public transport system.

Meanwhile, other public transport operators in the capital have also assured to implement the regulation which makes it mandatory to ensure reserved seats for women and people with disability.

Rimal claimed that 80 percent of the total 7,500 public vehicles in the Bagmati zone are following the government´s guideline on reserved seats.


Kathmanduties will experience pleasant road ride soon: Shyam Kharel, Chief of the KVRIP
The chief of Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project (KVRIP) spoke with Republica on the ongoing construction and government´s plans for developing the roads in the Valley.

How will the roads that are being constructed differ from the existing ones?
We had earlier planned to set the electricity, telecom and television cable underground and remove all the utility poles from the expanded areas. But owing to time and financial constraints, the plan could not materialize.

KVRIP is constructing disabled-friendly roads at some places. The Tinkune-Maitighar road section will have several intersections convenient for wheelchairs. Though it would not be possible for us to build roads addressing all kinds of disabilities at once.

It is said that the Koteshwar-Bhaktapur six-lane road saw several casualties as people were not used to the wide roads. Is there a strategy to avoid such accidents in other roads of the Valley?
The Road Safety Unit under the Department of Road is in the process of identifying the accident prone places, designing flyovers and marking zebra. Likewise, we are also installing the network-based traffic signals to ease the pressure of traffic police who are functioning manually at most of the places.
It is estimated that at least 80,000 to 100,000 pedestrians cross the road at New Baneshwar Chowk every day. So a flyover must be constructed there.

How much money have the donors provided for constructing roads in the Valley?
New constructions in the expanded areas are a matter of pride for us as they are going to be built on governments alone effort. The Ministry of Finance has recently allocated Rs 480 million to complete the work. The Lazimpat-Buddhanilkantha road section is another important site after Tinkune-Maitighar section. But the much awaited ring road expansion project has recently been finalized on foreign support. The Government of China has allocated Rs 3.7 billion for 9 km eight-lane road from Kalanki to Koteshwar. The project is scheduled to begin from June.

Improvements so far

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) started night bus service targeting the people working at odd hours in the Capital from mid-August last year.

Sajha Bus came in operation from April 14, the New Year Day of Nepali Year 2070 after a decade.

Tinkune-Maitighar road section work to be completed by mid-July. Overhead bridges, network-based traffic signals, zebra crossings to be managed in widened roads. The roads would be disabled friendly. Other 64 road section would be constructed in six month.

Eight lane ring road construction from Kalanki to Koteshor in Rs 3.7 billion aid by the Government of China from June

Department of Transport Management to encourage entrepreneurs to bring large vehicles after reconstruction works are over

Traffic to give continuity to its drive against drunk-driving; ensure reservation for disabled, women in public vehicle and act against irregularities in public vehicle such as meter tampering in taxis

Source: Republica DailyLink:
Published on 2013-04-28 07:00:40

Stray cattle loiter in streets in lack of shelter


KATHMANDU, April 7: In absence of shelter house for derelict cattle picked from the streets, the Traffic Police and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) are compelled to keep the animals for several days in the same vehicles used to haul them.

A joint team deployed by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division and KMC carted off 40 cattle from the street this week alone.

On Monday alone, the metropolis controlled 18 male calves from Dallu, Samakhushi, Gongabu, Chappalkarkhana, Kalimati, Swayambhu and Gaushala. Generally, stray cows, calves and buffaloes are caught from the road and sent to a kanji house.

Similarly on Thursday, 22 animals were cornered at different parts of the capital and taken to the kanji house. Four male calves and oxen were caught from Gaurighat, eight from Balkhu, three from Gopikrishna, two each from Guheswari and Kupondole and one each from Dhumbarahi, Maharajgunj and Baneshwar, according to the traffic division.

The metropolis staff feed dry straw to the animals.

The officials said they go out once a week to clear the streets of stray animals. Such animals are kept inside the vehicle until they are auctioned off or driven out of the city to be released on outskirts of the Valley.

“The cattle are directly auctioned from the vehicles,” said Inspector Dhanapati Sapkota, chief of the KMC security department. The unsold animals are carried away to Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and Nuwakot districts, said Sapkota.

Though KMC is responsible to manage a kanji house to keep unclaimed cattle, the animals are kept under poor conditions in the same vehicle regardless of the heat in summer, the freezing temperature of winter and during the rain.

A kanji should have proper arrangements to house the animals comfortably. In lack of space, however, KMC takes the cattle to its barrack where old vehicles are stored.

“Considering their suffering we try to auction them within a week,” said Inspector Sapkota.

However, the cattle that were brought to KMC barrack on Monday were still inside the same vehicle on Wednesday. They were later dispatched to Kavre district.

Likewise, the rest of the animals were sent away on Saturday evening.

The Metropolis which has caught around 1000 stray cattle since the last fiscal year has been able to auction only 250 cattle.

“Nobody is interested in buying the cattle except for some people who come looking for cows,” a KMC staff said.

According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) data, 13 cattle have been killed and seven sustained injuries in road accidents in the Valley in the running fiscal year. Likewise, 15 animals perished and 5 were injured in road accidents last fiscal year. The data does not include stray dogs and cats.

Where do the cattle come from?

The male calves are generally abandoned by the livestock entrepreneurs, say officials.

Contrary to the practice in other districts, where cattle owners demand compensation from owner of the vehicles involved in an accident that kills animals, no one even comes forward to lodge complaint of missing cattle in the capital, said the MTPD Spokesperson Giri.

The KMC auctioned 250 cattle in the last fiscal year, but not a single animal was claimed by their owners.

Earlier, most oxen and buffalo seen on the street were abandoned after branding them with hot iron in the remembrance of a dead family member as per the Hindu culture.

However, the trend has shifted and most of the unclaimed male calves and buffalos in the Valley are abandoned by the livestock farmers who feel burden to feed animals that are of no use to them, says sub inspector with KMC´s city police Kishor Bhattarai.

“The cattle seen on the road these days are mostly males that have grown old,” said Bhattarai. “Most of them do not have branded marks as seen just a few years ago.”

Hindus worship cow as Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. It is still illegal in Nepal to slaughtering or intentionally kill cows, said Bhattarai.

Traffic blames KMC for stray animals

KMC and MTPD officials blame each other for the stray animals causing obstruction in vehicular movement in the Capital. Traffic spokesperson says that KMC should be active to remove the cattle from the streets everyday to help ease the traffic.

However, Sub Inspector Bhattarai, who is also in the auction committee of the KMC, says that auctioning the unclaimed cattle is a challenge for them.

“We can´t go for auction unless there are at least three bidders,” Bhattarai mentioned.

The KMC catches cattle from the road every Sunday. Following the pressure from the traffic police to control the stray animals, the drive was carried out twice this week. The office has only one vehicle in which the animals are carried and sheltered.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-04-07 07:00:42

Rs 9 billion required to supply drinking water till 2016




The government has estimated that it will have to spend Rs 9 billion to supply drinking water to the Valley dwellers till 2016. The estimate does not include the investment in the ongoing Melamchi drinking water project and Bagmati Basin improvement program.

The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has estimated that 20 new tube wells with the capacity to generate 20 million liters water per day would be required in the next three years.

There is a demand of 320 million cubic liters of drinking water in the Valley for 3.2 million people. Apart from the 2.6 million Valley residents, more than half million who use water are those who frequently travel to the Valley for various reasons.

However, the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has the capacity to supply only 90 million liters of water to the Kathmanduties in dry season and 150 million liters in rainy season.

The MoUD has aimed to construct a 22 kilometer network for improved water distribution system inside the ring road areas.

Under this plan, ponds with the capacity to store 30 million liters of water in Mahankal, 12 million liters in Balaju, 8 million liters each in Arubari and Khumaltar would be constructed. Total 68 million liters of water would be stored in the basins.

“An estimation of the ministry has shown that the population of Kathmandu Valley would reach close to 5.1 million by 2025. We are planning keeping the figure in mind,” said MoUD secretary Kishor Thapa.

He added that the government preparation on the maximum use of ground water has come as the Melamchi project now seems insufficient to quench the thirst of Valley dwellers.

Melamchi project likely to be effective from 2016

In another phase, between 2016 to 2025, the government aims to establish water filtration centers and improve distribution systems with an investment of Rs13 billion.

According to Chandra Lal Nakarmi, senior distribution manager at the KUKL, the drinking water leakage in the Valley has been reduced to 35 percent from 75 percent compared to just two years ago. “The control in leakage of water is now saving around 2 million liters of water,” he added “The KUKL aims to drop the leakage to 15 percent in the next two years.”

Private sector has also played a vital role in easing the water crisis in the Valley by supplying 60 million liters of water every day. Similarly, bottling companies and housing companies have constructed 151 deep tube wells to extract ground water.

According to the MoUD, a report issued in November 12 last year, 80 water supply projects have currently benefited 2,28,000 people of 82 VDCs across the three districts in the Valley.

Similarly, the ministry report also stated that 55 similar drinking water projects are under construction, which is estimated to cover additional 2,03,000 people. The government has allocated Rs 2.5 billion for the project.

However, around 2,00,000 people residing in rural areas of the Valley would still be deprived of their right to safe drinking water even if the additional projects succeed, says Thapa.

Source: Republica DailyLink:
Published on 2013-02-24 06:00:51

China donated vehicles in sorry state



Unused new vehicles and high tech ambulances are covered with muck, thorny bushes and heaps of garbage. This is how the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has placed the vehicles donated by the government of China due lack of transport station, say the officials.

Of the 108 garbage trucks and water tankers, 28 are gathering dust at the KMC ´barrack´, Nepal Municipality Association, KMC chapter office and garbage transfer station at Teku.

According to Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of KMC Environment Division, 80 vehicles currently on use are sufficient for now and the rest are stored for the future use. Currently, 450 tons of garbage is generated from the Capital, but the KMC is able to dump only 200 metric tonnes wastes at Okharpauwa and Sisdole landfill sites because of their daily capacity.

However, continuous exposure to the elements has damaged the vehicles´ batteries, he said.

“Though my division had proposed the KMC headquarter for the construction of transport stations for the vehicles, the proposal is still under consideration,” said Shrestha adding “We have to replace the batteries to bring them into use.”

The government of China had donated the vehicles, water tankers and waste bins worth Rs 170 million on 2010.

Similarly, two of five high tech mobile health clinics are in sorry state under the open sky at the KMC barrack since the past two years. The ambulances, well equipped with medical kits to respond immediately for heart disease patients as well as emergency delivery of infants, were to be handed over to the locals of Sisdole landfill sites.

However, the locals have not come forward to claim the vehicles, said Shrestha. “The mobile clinic would benefit the rural people of Nuwakot and Dhading districts as they travel all the way to Kathmandu for medical services.”

Three other ambulances are being used in the weekly voluntary health camps the local health clubs conduct here.

Source: My Republica DailyLink:
Published on 2012-08-27 05:00:13

Night bus service in the Capital, first time



It´s official! Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is launching night bus service in the city from Friday. KMC in coordination with the Federation of Nepalese Transport Entrepreneurs (FNTE) and Metropolitan Police Commissioner´s Office (MPCO) will operate 14 night buses in six different routes of Kathmandu and Lalitpur.

KMC chief Kedar Bahadur Adhikari informed that each bus will be equipped with two armed security personnel and a CCTV.

“Though the service will only be run for six months in the initial phase, we will continue it if it proves useful for people compelled to travel during late hours either due to job or emergency situation,” said Adhikari.

While four vehicles will ply along the Ring Road, 10 others will operate along five different routes – Satdobato-Ratnapark, Koteshwar-Sinamangal-New Bus Park, Jorpati-Ratnapark, Kalanki-Ratnapark and Balaju-Ratnapark. The night bus service will be available from 8- 11 pm. The 26-seater buses are distinguished by digital lights and uniformed staff.

Superintendent of Police (SP) at MPCO Bikash Shrestha said that further information about the night bus service can be availed by calling toll free number 100. He also urged the night time commuters to trust MPCO for security as police personnel will be deployed at every bus stop and along the routes. Likewise, MPCO is prepared to escort the vehicles in case of unpleasant eventuality.

As per an agreement between the local body and FNTE, KMC will provide Rs 4.5 million in assistance to FNTE for fuel expenses and staff salary, said FNTE. “We have already received Rs 2 million from KMC. We will also get the remaining Rs 2.5 million within a couple of months,” said Saroj Sitaula, treasurer of FNTE.

The service also aims to create environment for nightlife in the capital, said Sitaula.

Routes of night bus service
Kalanki -New Bus Park- Chabahil- Koteshwar-Satdobato- Kalanki
Bir Hospital- Bus Park-Bhrikuti Mandap- Krishna Pauroti- Gyaneshwar- Maitidevi- Old Baneshwar -Gaushala- Chabahil- Jorpati

Ratnapark- Sahid Gate-Tripureshwar- Kalimati-Kalanki
Ratnapark-Jamal-Lazimpat-Maharajgunj -Ganga Lal Heart Disease Centre
Ratnapark- Singhadurbar- Thapathali- Jawalakhel- Patan- Satdobato

 Source: My Republica DailyLink-
Published on 2012-08-17 03:30:39