Kathmandu. If you are heading towards Tinkune from Baneshwor in Kathmandu at night, be cautious as the road is currently under construction. Why? Because the street lights there have been dysfunctional for a long time.
This road only has bulbs in the name of street lights, and the situation is such that one has to carry their own torch for light. Daily traveler Manoj Timilsina explains.
Due to the dysfunctional street lights, not only pedestrians traveling from Baneshwor to Tinkune face issues, but also the drivers encounter problems.
Travelers on the road are crossing the thoroughfare with caution, as the absence of streetlights increases the risk of accidents. The situation is so intense for pedestrians and cyclists, how challenging must it be for the drivers?,” says taxi driver Milan Rai. According to Rai, even the inner alleys require taxi headlights to provide light for pedestrians.”
The condition of the road from Kalimati to Balkhu is also the same. Existing street lights are not in good condition, and solar lights are a bit dim. Local resident Kabita chhetri says, ‘In Kathmandu, we are always afraid of street lights and dogs. Why hasn’t Mayor Balan Shah prioritized the necessary improvements? This should be given priority.’
On the matter of the dysfunctional streetlights from Kathmandu’s main roads, squares, and alleys, the Chief of the Public Construction Department of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Ram Bahadur Thapa, has provided information. However, he has not revealed any progress in their repair.
It has been revealed to the public that a plan is in progress to install smart streetlights and high-mast lights, in collaboration with the Nepal Electricity Authority. “Kathmandu Metropolitan City will soon be shining brightly in a few months from now. Work has already begun according to the same. The dysfunctional lights will be replaced quickly,” said Thapa.
He explained that while new installations are underway for the future, the question arises whether the dysfunctional streetlights will continue to keep the public in the dark even during regular maintenance. He clarified that there is no meaning in repairing the lights in a month’s time when new installations are in progress.
He claimed that the ‘new smart street lights’ will bring relief. However, according to Thapa, under this project, the installation of lights on Kathmandu’s main roads and squares will be completed in a minimum of time and will be implemented until the month of Phalgun (mid-February to mid-March
Even if it is not necessary to repair the streetlights, the city has not provided any information regarding how many functional lights are there, let alone the dim ones.
National Street Light Improvement Project Engineer Sagarmani Gyawali explains that the problem is expected to be resolved by starting the installation of new smart streetlights after removing the old dysfunctional lights.
At present, people are using torchlights to see the existing lights, but once everything is fixed, they will switch back to them. Gyawali says, ‘All lights will be repaired once the public has patience for a while.'”
Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s ‘Kathmandu Ujyalo Program,’ aimed at installing smart streetlights, has been in the dark for up to three years. Thapa confirmed that the launch and the start of smart light installations have been delayed for three years, beyond the initially planned timeline.
Thapa explained that the installation of streetlights began just before Dashain, and work is in progress to cover all major roads.
He claimed that smart streetlights are being installed in the main roads of Maharajgunj, Lazimpat, Tripureshwor, Maitighar, Nayabaneswor, Tinkune, Gaushala, and Chabahil areas by the month of Phalgun. According to Thapa, a total of 2,100 streetlights will be installed in Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
“Old streetlights have been removed in some places like Baneshwor, and some of them are in good condition, so they have been left as they are. Now, new lights are being replaced, which is why it is currently dark, but this won’t last for long,” Thapa explained.
“The Kathmandu Metropolitan City had already initiated the ‘Ujyalo Shahar’ program in its budget. According to Thapa, they have started the contract of installing lights for 12 crores in collaboration with the Nepal Electricity Authority.”
Thapa revealed that the Kathmandu Metropolitan City had already called for a tender worth 10 crores before Dashain to install high-mast lights in the main city squares. He further stated, ‘We are currently installing 62 high-mast lights in major crowded parks and work for high-mast lights will begin from the month of Poush (mid-December to mid-January).
“On the 25th of Mangsir, 2077 (December 10, 2020), an agreement was signed between Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Nepal Electricity Authority, and the Department of Roads regarding the installation of streetlights. According to the agreement, in the first phase, approximately 2,000 modern streetlights were to be installed in areas such as New Baneshwor, Tripureshwor, Kalimati, Kalanki, and other regions with an estimated investment of around 7,00,00,000 Accordingly, the Nepal Electricity Authority invited tenders and initiated the contractor selection process. However, the project was stalled in its final stages due to issues related to ownership and other matters concerning the streetlights.”
Engineer Sagarmani Gyawali, who is involved in the National Street Light Improvement Project of the Nepal Electricity Authority, now says that they have started the installation of streetlights, leaving behind the matter of taxation between the metropolitan city and the authority. Gyawali explained that the work of installing streetlights using the basket fund from the Metropolitan City, the Authority, and other organizations has begun.
Three years after the delay, the work has finally commenced, and it is expected that Kathmandu will see transformation by 2080.” stated Gyawali.
Even though it is funded by the basket fund, its operational expenses are managed by the Nepal Electricity Authority,” he explained. “This is not just about installing streetlights now; it’s about setting up a system,” Gyawali said. “The cables are underground, and this is an indicator for entering the smart city. Smart lights are controlled from a central hub.
Source: Online Khabar ( Amrit Chimaria)