Following the directives of the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to fill up all potholes on valley roads and to repair damaged manhole coverings within the next 15 days, significant improvements have seen in the bureaucratic level but not in the in the road quality. The government officials of concerned ministries and departments including the secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation came out in the streets on the name of inspects the construction drives.
But neither the directives of the Prime Minister nor the activism and inspections of the bureaucrats did nothing to make clear the hurdles that have long being creating to mention the quality of roads. Some significant progresses have seen in some sections of roads as the contractors have filled up some potholes with gravel.
But the construction works made in haste in the middle of the rainy season seems to have motivated to respect the directives of the Prime Minister rather than concerning for the durability of the roads. The potholes filled up with gravels would need to dig out again while making blacktop the roads.
It is full of humorous that some officials have instructed the contractors even to blacktop the roads on the name of following the directives of the Prime Minister. It is not being realized that it is useless even to try to blacktop these roads in the middle of the monsoon.
We would like to salute to the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for concerning over the pathetic conditions of valley roads though the works like routine repair and maintenance of the roads are not among the prime minister’s duties. Prime Minister Deuba would have made the commitment to personally oversee the repairs of all valley concerning over the tragic accidents occurred recently in Kathmandu valley.
As two school girls- ten year-old Binita Phuyal of Nepaltar and 13-year-old Satya Sapkota of Samakhushi fell into open sewers at two different places on July 14 and a girl lost her live while receiving treatment at hospital, the government was highly criticized for not paying its heeds to maintain the quality of the roads. As there is no possible to maintenance the roads within the set deadline by the Prime Minister, it is likely that the concerned government officials would label blame to the incessant rains for hampering repairs and maintenance the roads.
We understand that the Prime Minister is helpless in getting the rather rigid bureaucracy to properly do its job. As the rainy season of now was not come as of a natural calamity, the concerned officials, who are supposed to supervise timely road repairs, should have discharged their duties rather than blaming the incessant rains of now for hampering repairs.
As the government has to do many things including the completion the three sets of elections within constitutionally set deadline for January 21, 2018, the Prime Minister should bring a concrete policy and program to change this entrenched culture of shoddy work and inaction of bureaucrats rather than personally involving in simple works like road repairing. As there is no meaning to try to blacktop these roads in the middle of the monsoon, it would be better to fill up the potholes with gravel for now and wait for the dry season for blacktopping. Not only the valley roads but also the roads of other places like Narayenghat Mugling road and Tatopani-Nylam road also need to be revamped immediately.
Since a landslide washed away the Larcha Bridge made over the Bhotekoshi River on Sunday, the entire Nepal is isolated with the Tatopani border triggering huge loss in business and putting risk the entire settlements of the areas. Similarly, dozens’ lives have already lost along the Narayenghad Mugling road section due to pitiable condition of road and landslides.
Only the concrete policy and program guided with the longsighted vision can tackle the challenges come ahead for the development of the country including the construction and repairing of the roads. As the country is transformed into a new era with elected representatives in the local bodies, it would be appropriate time to take initiations for such kind of policy and programs.