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The kingdom needs buses and waste management

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2012 01:20 IST
Bharti Chaturvedi
Bharti Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times
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Kathmandu is a city dug up these days. Several roads are being widened, so that they can better handle increasing traffic.

This would have been welcome news, if it was going to increase the efficiency of the public transport system. Problem is, there is barely any such system. Sure, there are micro-buses, but these are too few in number.

If anything, there are more and more two-wheelers. The city did have a tram system, but that seems to have fallen into disuse. There are specific reasons why Kathmandu in particular must rush to provide robust public transportation.

Its roads are so narrow, it must reduce the number of vehicles to make travel quicker. Buses can provide this service. But this is also a city in a valley, making it a highly polluted one. Reducing air emissions from cars and two wheelers is a critical way to keep this city clean and its air fit to breathe. As a tourist dependent city, Kathmandu must constantly create advantages for itself. Being healthy is an important plus.

Successful Plans

In a few seconds, you can see both : sharp white peaks in the Himalayas and heaps of trash. This is the view from Kathmandu, where waste handling is not a strength.

All along the length of the river Bishnumati, waste lies strewn, as if it were a landfill. It is not that nothing is being done — there is evidence of great effort but mostly in key tourist areas. So you can no longer go and trash the Mt Everest area. You have to first deposit a fees, and upon return, show the administrators the waste you have generated (and lugged down). Obviously, if you have show too little, or none at all, you cannot recover the fees, which is used to clean up. A great idea for fragile eco-systems that India must follow.