AUG 26 - The Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), the main authority for planning, regulation, management and coordination of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and land development of Kathmandu Valley. He spoke with Manish Gautam on city beautification plan.
What is city beautification for a city like Kathmandu?
Aesthetically, beauty is something that soothes your eyes. It drives people towards positivity. This is why a city with lush greenery is a must. For this, apart from planting plants in various parts of the city, parks and ponds will also be well preserved. The areas in Narayan Chaur and Kamal Pokhari will be beautified in Kathmandu. We could take help from various corporate sectors to make these project successful. Kathmandu needs an immediate overhaul of its existing infrastructure.
So maintaining greenery is what city beautification stands for you?
No. Greenery is just a part of the beautification process. In the first phase, we will conduct demonstrations project inside the Valley like managing the electric and telephone wires and making the housing structures coherent and orderly. Following this project, a strict guidelines will be set and enforced. It is just like any beautiful cities around the world. The visual aesthetics is the must. The demonstration project will convince people that it is possible to have a better city to live in. After this, it will be easy for us to implement our guidelines without any restrains from people. I believe that every people in the city are willing to live in a clean and beautiful city.
What about the budget for these plans?
The Ministry of Finance has already written to the Global Environment Facility Fund which will soon release the budget.
What has the government done to execute this ambitious plan of city beautification?
The government cannot complete its entire plan at once. The work continues slowly. If you look at this year’s budget, there has been much focus on beautification of city across the nation. Even before leasing any of the public land, the government has decided to analyse the profit and benefits status. This will make every contractor accountable to the government and public. Inside Kathmandu Valley, we are building 10 parks and gardens. We will buy the land in three places for the purpose. All of these government initiatives mean that people at the policy level are aware of the fact that the city has to be a better place to live in.
By way of looking at the development works and implementation of building codes, one can tell that the task of beautifying city must be daunting. What is your take?
We need to work in a pragmatic manner. It will take time for us to reach to a level where all the houses will have similar design, colour and height. But we have to begin the work now. We are revising the by-laws of housing codes and designs, and talks are underway with concerned bodies to address the issue.
Since KVDA has much plans up its sleeve, why did we wait for the Saarc summit to begin the beautification project. Couldn’t this have been done earlier?
I don’t think so. When it comes to Saarc conference beautification, it is our innate values to keep your house clean and tidy if a guest if guests are arriving. This is a prestige issue of a nation and we need to do our best to make a better impression with the south-Asian leaders. I also think that it is the best time for us to bring in cash for our plans in the name of Saarc. On one hand, we would make our city look better during this big event and, on the other, we would get better investment for our long-term plans.
How will KVDA address the lack of inter-agency coordination that has affected many development works inside the Valley?
There have been many instances where one agency builds roads, while other tears it down to install water pipes and sewerages. This is due to the lack of coordination. Since two years of its establishment, we are doing our best to conduct development process in consolidated manner. Our office is also working to condense the scattered budget and invest it in Kathmandu beautification. This will help address this recurrent problem. How do you see Kathmandu Valley ten years down the line? If everything goes as planned, then we will have green and beautiful Kathmandu with consistent housing designs, better compliance of building codes, and good roads to travel.