Highway manholes are changing into a lure for cars


October 28, Kathmandu. During the decade, Shyam Karki saw an empty road in the Dhobikhola corridor and got into an accident when the speed of the motorcycle increased. As they approached Ghattekulo, they suddenly fell into a manhole above the road surface and fell down. “I was in the back of a car. I couldn’t stop immediately when a tall manhole came up,” said Karki.

Rough roads also cause problems for drivers in Kathmandu. On top of that, the ‘manholes’ that do not fit in with the surface of the road that are found in the middle, have become like a trap. There is also a frightening practice of leaving the manhole open without even covering it. It is not known when vehicles and pedestrians enter the manhole and get into an accident.

The risk of accidents is also reduced as speed is limited on unpaved roads. Screaming road manholes, on the other hand, have become a trap for drivers and passengers in times of traffic congestion, especially in the morning and at night.

Due to this, Kathmandu is becoming unsafe for both drivers and pedestrians due to undisciplined drivers, tendency to drive under the influence of alcohol, lack of law enforcement and bad condition of roads.

Infrastructure expert Dr. Surya Raj Acharya says that placing khalda or tutul in the manhole of the road is like setting a trap. According to him, technically this is unforgivable negligence. He said that this problem has arisen when the level of roads and sidewalks is designed to be maintained permanently.

Recently, the roads and manholes constructed in a careless manner have also been the cause of the increase in accidents, according to the traffic police. According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police, manholes in the form of ‘speed bumps’ on various roads in the valley have increased the number of accidents.

According to the Division, more than 8,000 accidents occur in the Kathmandu Valley every year. About 30 percent of these accidents are due to poor road conditions.

There are no definite details of the accident caused by the incorrectly constructed manhole, but the driver who spoke to online news said that the manhole that was raised and pressed on the road was fighting.

Shri Ram Pandey, 50, of Baluwatar, who goes to Jawalakhel for work every day, was seriously injured when he crashed into a road manhole near British School in Bakhundol a year ago.

He said that he escaped only because another vehicle did not come from behind. “I still get scared when I remember that incident, then I stopped walking that way,” says Pandey.

Manholes are becoming a trap on the road. The condition of the inner roads constructed by Kathmandu and Lalitpur Municipal Corporation is even worse.

Shyam Karki, who was injured in the manhole of Dhobikhola Corridor Road, says that the incident has attracted the attention of Traffic Police and Kathmandu Valley Development Authority. “But no one seems to be holding them accountable,” Karki said.

Weak road engineering

Infrastructure expert Dr. Surya Raj Acharya says that placing khalda or tutul in the manhole of the road is like setting a trap. According to him, technically this is unforgivable negligence. He said that this problem has arisen when the level of roads and sidewalks is designed to be maintained permanently.

‘Our physical development system has not been formed. No matter how much development work has been done, it has been done in a haphazard and impromptu manner, ‘he says.

Kishor Thapa, another urban infrastructure expert who has been the secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, says that all the bodies are to blame for the poor condition of the roads. He says weak road engineering and lack of coordination and monitoring have become manhole problems on the roads. “Everyone involved should take the blame,” Thapa said.

Thapa is of the opinion that the fault of the unorganized roads is mainly on the department as the road department does not plan well.

Giving the example of the ditch seen in New Baneshwor recently, he said that the road in Kathmandu would deteriorate during the construction phase and this trend was increasing. “Manholes in the streets are the result of poor planning,” Thapa said.

He said that even the local people’s representatives who did not question the work done indiscriminately were to blame.

The problem of coordination and poor engineering has persisted for years. Poor monitoring has also played a role in the deteriorating condition of roads.

Leaving responsibility to others

Shiva Prasad, spokesperson of the road department, says that the department is trying to improve the roads managed by labeling them. He said that all the blame should not be laid on the department for the weaknesses. “The department is also labeling manholes for roads that do not fall under its responsibility,” he said. According to him, only 450 kilometers of roads in Kathmandu Valley fall under the responsibility of the department.

Spokesperson Nepal said that the department understands the impact of bad roads and is trying to make it better. He admitted that the problem of manhole was more due to lack of coordination among the concerned agencies.

The Department of Roads and the Department of Drinking Water and Sewerage Management have been avoiding accusations against each other. The department says that the problem in manholes has increased due to lack of budget to do all the work in one year.

“If we build a road in one year, the sewerage or drinking water project will not be completed in the same year, because the budget for it will come next year,” the spokesperson further said.

He said other bodies did not provide digital maps showing the location of manholes and other points. He says that the department does not know where to fill the vacancy. “Even recent projects like Melamchi Drinking Water have not provided maps showing important places for the project,” he said.

Nepal said that the department should not be blamed for digging blacktop roads in the absence of maps of other agencies. Spokesperson of the Department of Drinking Water and Sewerage Management Surya Kandel said that the road department should fix the ceiling to what extent the blacktop will be. “The road department and the metropolitan government have to decide how far they can go,” he said. “We can build sewers and manholes accordingly. There is no ceiling now. That’s why they look rough on the road. ‘

Lack of monitoring

The problem of coordination and poor engineering has persisted for years. Poor monitoring has also played a role in the deteriorating condition of roads.

The road department says that regular road monitoring could not be carried out due to lack of sufficient manpower. According to the department, the monitoring has not been effective as the employees are busy with paper work most of the time.

“There are other monitoring bodies, we also go together,” says spokesperson Nepal. “But, we do not have the manpower and time to go out every week.”

The Kathmandu Valley Development Authority does not seem to be monitoring the Dhobi Khola road corridor. Corridor project chief Dinesh Kumar Pote said he knew about the potholes in the road. He said that the problem was due to technical reasons.

“Roads are being repaired by labeling,” he said. “We have already told the engineers involved in other projects not to repeat the damage caused by such roads.”

Photo: Aryan Dhimal





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