- Posted March 25, 2014 by
kathmandu Nepal, Nepal
Public outcry from roads to road safety in Nepal
The road expansion project of the Kathmandu city proves to be not just a relief for the kathmanduties but a curse that haunts them everyday in their daily lives. Though done with the sole aim of giving relief to the increasing number of Kathmandu’s traffic, the Kathmandu expansion project has been seen as one of the prime reasons of hazardous health situation in absence of management of roadside debris and construction materials.
With smaller petite roads snaking into the metropolitan city and the limited black top area, the large number of vehicles here has no escape to long traffic jams and pollution. Perhaps on one hand it proves to be a boon for the citizens, but for the time being the road expansion project has put question marks on lack of management skills of Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC) with no health measure taken where the Nepal government is turning a blind eye towards public health and safety.
According to the Nepal government, “ The current ongoing Road expansion project is being carried out in line with the Urban Development Implementation Act 1977. The 35-year-old resolution to expand roads in the Valley could not materialise due to the unwillingness of the previous governments.”
Though it has been around 17 months since its inception last November 2011 by the Maoist prime minister Baburam Bhattarai government things have progressed in a very slow manner. Roads everywhere in Kathmandu have been dug up for repair and expansion with no precautionary measures. On one hand it directly threatened public health with dust pollution, whereas as on the other hand due to obstruction, debris and absence of street lights pose a greater threat in terms of ROAD SAFETY especially at night.
Why do we need Big roads?
The answer to this question is hidden in the statistics data. If you look at the data altogether 683, 847 vehicles have been added in the Bagmati zone since 1990. Alone in the current fiscal year data around 16,29,432 vehicles have been added and over 85 percent vehicles are two wheelers, and majority of them has been registered in the Bagmati zone. In the past five months of the fiscal year, 20,415 two-wheelers were registered in the Bagmati zone, up from 18,882 during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. Of the total vehicles, only 2.67 percent vehicles are public while 92.14 percent vehicles are privately owned.
Lack of Management
From the Nepal Government’s monitoring wing, Department of the Transport management lack of vision to the Traffic Police seeing the public as a means of tool for tax and income generation. Nepal’s vehicle owners have no relief in terms of their safety, tax and guidance. With the attitude of the Traffic police to catch defaulter for fine, how can things change or be different?
The main role of the traffic police is to aware and prohibit the public from making mistake, but when the same police makes the effort to catch more defaulters in view of raising more funds by sidelining its awareness message, the system gets drained in view of the real motives of road safety.
Issue of Concern
Another reason to the outcry of public safety is the lack of responsibility of understanding the skills and responsibility of sitting behind the wheels. In-fact reality is nobody has the time and patience to wait and everybody is in a hurry that people barely follow any traffic rules here in Nepal which at times create big problems. According to a research around 90% of the road accidents happen due to lack of ignorance of traffic rules and regulation.
This problem is not just to blame for to the public as from the time you start your preparation for driving there is no culture of responsible road safety taught or informed or practiced and in a long run it evolves as a definite attitude or behavior.
We can be very optimistic about the road expansion project, but with lack of conscious driving behaviour skills and culture, Nepal further moves into a new edition of lack of road safety vacuum which can result in a further devastating situation.
If we want a proper system to be running we need proper rules and regulation and most importantly the will and the power of the people to believe in it. When the people or public start to take rules and regulation for-granted then there is only one possible answer chaos and confusion.