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Category Archives: Valley Development

Sinamangal bridge to be ready by March next year

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Feb 13: A loud bang at 2 am roused the locals of Sinamangal from their deep slumber on March 28, 2009. The locals felt their buildings shake. They did not dare to venture out immediately thinking it was a bomb blast. Nobody even tried to open their windows to look out. Then, at around 4, another blast rocked the area.

The locals discovered later in the morning that the bridge built over the Bagmati River at Bhimsengola had collapsed. The bridge, built in 1966, was estimated to last for 100 years.

But the rampant sand extraction from the river led to the weakening of the bridge´s plinth, causing distortion in the middle. As a result, the 40-meter bridge became useless in less than half of its expected lifespan.

Dharma Lama, 52, a resident of Sinamangal, says that the damage had caused great inconvenience to the locals and others who used the bridge every day to go to other places.

At the time, the construction of the road network that formed Bagmati corridor had already been under way.

Thousands of commuters and motorists faced difficulties as all the vehicles coming from Old Baneshwar, Buttishputali and east of Sinamangal were diverted to the ring-road.

The officials of the Kathmandu Division Office of the Department of Roads visited the site the following day and concluded that the bridge was beyond repair and constructing a new bridge was the only solution.

Again in 2011, a portion of the Bagmati corridor road near the site, where a new bridge linking Sinamangal with Tilganga was being constructed, collapsed.

The officials at the DoR Kathmandu division say that heavy water flow in the Bagmati swept away the road even as the construction of a foundation for the new bridge.
The heavy water flow during the bridge construction weakened the road´s foundation and led to its collapse.

The damage disrupted traffic along 1.5 km road between Old Baneshwar and Tilganga.

Pedestrian´s movement, too, was restricted fearing possible rupture as the land over which the road was built developed multiple cracks. The road was repaired and brought into operation in a week.

Though the Bagmati corridor is in operation at present, the traffic flow along Sinamangal, Gaushala and Old Baneshwar routes get affected when the temporary diversion at Bhimsengola becomes vulnerable during the rainy season as the water level rises in the river.

Though the DoR earlier estimated that the new bridge would come into operation by the end of 2011, completing the work still remains a challenge, officials say.
Officials now hope to complete the construction work by the end of March next year.

We are committed to complete the project soon, says Engineer Dipendra Pandey, in charge of the construction project. The DoR is spending Rs 77 million for the reinforced cement concrete bridges.

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INTERVIEW

´Sand mining has posed long term threat for Sinamangal Bridge and locals´

Dipendra Pandey
Engineer
In charge of the Sinamangal Bridge Construction Project

The construction has not been easy the second time as well. What went wrong?
Following the rampant sand extraction by the squatters residing near the banks of the river, the infrastructure got weak at its base and the bridge collapsed just in 43 years though it was meant to last 100 years.

Before constructing the second bridge, the soil investigation should have been done in more detail. The then official designed the bridge on the basis of the soil survey at Gairidhara, which later proved to be a blunder. The soil is less qualitative to absorb water. As a result, the flood in the river swept away the pillars of the under-construction bridge.

Is the new bridge safe now?
The 9.5 meters wide bridge has one meter footpath on either side. It is the “A” class type which has the capacity to carry 80 ton weight. However, several collapses in the construction sites in the last three years has left us in doubt about its sustainability. The 25 meters long temporary diversion bridge constructed in 2010 collapsed due to soil erosion in rainy season. Similarly, another diversion built over the river is also on the verge of collapse.

Why does the government take no action against the illegal sand extractors?
The DoR itself cannot punish the wrongdoers. We have to seek help of the Metropolitan Police and the District Administration Office. We were unaware about the sand extraction before 2009. The locals should have been proactive in complaining to the authority earlier which would have prevented the damage.

Do other bridges in the capital face similar problem?
The bridge over the Bagmati linking Thapathali with Kupondole had collapsed in the past due to same reason. But later it was built along with several cut off walls that would support the pillars and channel the water flow in the rainy season. Same technique was applied while constructing the Kalimati and Tinkune bridges. Similarly, the bridges along Bishnumati corridor area are also safe now.

Sinamangal Bridge Fact file

  • Built in 1966 targeting for 100 years
  • Collapsed in 2009 due to illegal sand extraction
  • 25 meters long temporary diversion bridge collapsed in 2010
  • Flood in Bagmati sweeps away portion of road near the construction site of a new bridge in April 2011
  • Government targets to complete a new 40 meters long, 9.5 meters wide bridge in March next year
Source: Republica Daily

Link: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=49856

Published on 2013-02-13 07:00:38

What ails Valley Development Authority?

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Jan 29: The concept of simultaneously developing all the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley was documented for the first time in 1988 in the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority Act that was endorsed by the then National Panchayat and approved by the late King Birendra.

The act mandated the government to form a body to press ahead with the infrastructural development of the valley with respect to its socio, economic and cultural history.

The act reads thus: “It is expedient to establish and manage the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority in order to provide essential services and facilities to the public and maintain the health, convenience and economic interests of the common people by restructuring, expanding and developing existing towns as well as ensuring physical development in a planned manner in the context of growing population and urbanization of Kathmandu Valley.”

Unfortunately, it took 24 years for such an authority to be instituted. The government formed the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA) on April 27, 2012, to give shape to the idea envisioned over two decades ago.


Road expansion underway. (Photo: Bijay Gajmer)

The cabinet decision to form the body was not a usual one as Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had called an emergency meeting to appoint Keshav Sthapit, the last mayor of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), as the commissioner of the KVDA.

The KVDA not only has powers to impose ban on any type of physical change in any property, but also the authority to stop any action taken without its prior approval or in violation of its given terms and conditions. It also has been empowered to carry out land development programs for the purpose of arranging residential plots and other urban activities.

Right after assuming the post, Sthapit had declared that he would expedite the ongoing project to develop the Bagmati river system, which flows through Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts, in coordination with the existing Bagmati Action Plan.

Thus the authority plans to merge the efforts of separate agencies working on the project to avoid duplication, curb the misuse of budget and bring the valley development into a one-window system.

The authority can play a vital role to ensure collective reconstruction efforts in the recently expanded areas of Kathmandu and Lalitpur.

When Sthapit was elected the KMC mayor in July 1997, he had quickly earned a reputation as a man of action. He gave a visible makeover to the city and expanded services despite criticisms. Sky bridges were constructed at various places and roads at Kalanki, Chabahil, Ratnapark, Tundhikhel Trichandra and Tripureshwor were widened.

But Sthapit had to taste failure in one of the very first task as KVDA chief after efforts to resettle 259 families of squatters evacuated from the bank of Bagmati River in Thapathali by the High-Level Bagmati Civilization Integrated Development in March last year ended in fiasco.

Moreover, government staff assigned to the KVDA is unhappy that Sthapit has shown no urgency to find a new office from where they could work and are upset about having to carry out the authorities work from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works and the Ministry of Urban of Urban Development.

“We are working under uncertainties. We don´t have money to pay for the bulldozers and sometimes even to pay salaries to the staff. The commissioner should have been bold enough to bring budgets to complete the pending works,” says Bhai Kaji Tiwari, chief of the Kathmandu Development Authority.

However, Sthapit claimed that the government was responsible for the failure as it did not allocate budget for staff´s salary and other activities of KVDA.

“I had proposed to the chief secretary Lila Mani Poudel and Kishor Thapa, secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development to institute a Rs 1 billion fund immediately to respond to the squatters´ problem,” claimed Sthapit, adding, “Bagmati area development and reconstruction works at demolished areas were also my top priorities but could not be completed due to budget deficit.”

A cabinet meeting on January 17 had sacked Sthapit from the post and appointed Engineer Yogeshwar Krishna Parajuli in his place. A high level committee formed by PM Bhattarai, who also heads the urban development ministry, had reported that the work done by Sthapit as the KVDA commissioner in the last 10 months was inadequate.

Following the sack, Sthapit filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court maintaining that he had done a lot in his capacity despite no cooperation from the government.

The Supreme Court issued an interim order on Friday against the decision to sack Sthapit from the post of commissioner of the KVDA. Besides, the court has also sought a written clarification from the government about the decision.

The court has also ordered the government not to appoint anyone on the post for the time being. As per the apex court, neither Sthapit nor Parajuli can claim the post until the case is settled at the judiciary.

Sthapit claimed that whoever holds the commissioner´s post would not be able to work in lack of budget and KVDA´s incomplete structure.

“Many government agencies, whose policies contradict each other´s, are involved for the same work,” he added.

Some government officials believe, if the government wins the case and succeeds in appointing Engineer Parajuli as KVDA commissioner, he can bring more clear visions to the authority.

Parajuli is a well-known name in the area of disaster risk reduction and earthquake safety in South Asia.

Source: Republica Daily

Link: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=49017

Published on 2013-01-29 07:08:38