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Tourism News & Highlights

KMC plans afoot to Beautify the Capital

 Twelve years have passed since Kathmandu began its first step of infrastructural metamorphosis. Just over a week ahead of the 11th Saarc summit, the city roads were cleaned, squatters were evicted, multi storied buildings were bulldozed in Maitighar and replaced by a beautiful Mandala outfitted with a stupa and water spouts.

Then, with only few days remaining before the arrival of Saarc delegates, an array of labor troops were mobilized to whitewash billboards to minimise visible pollution, while an army of painters were deployed to decorate the city with welcome slogans like “Long Life to the Saarc Partnership”. The city roads were equipped with concrete lane dividers, green belts and floral decorations. It was a pleasing transformation to behold.

Much has changed in the capital city since. The major roads have now been widened, cycle tracks developed in some places, and hoarding boards removed. All these changes around are continuation of the same initiative that started back in 2002 when Nepal was the host nation for the 11th Saarc summit and Kathmandu its venue.

Nepal is once again hosting the regional summit on the second week of November this year. And the government and stakeholders are already floating various ideas and proposals to enhance the urban beauty of Kathmandu. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala directed concerned authorities to pace up their work and complete the road construction before the Saarc meeting.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), which was also responsible for the city’s makeover in 2002, has plans to beautify it at least six months before the summit.

For that, KMC Chief Laxman Aryal says, they need to start working without any delay. “We have plenty of time this time, and if everything goes as planned, we plan to initiate our work from next month.” Before the Saarc summit, the KMC plans to undertake and complete various projects that include urban greenery spaces, street lamps installation, waste management, tidying up the utility wires, refurbishing the existing pavements and fixing pedestrian railings.

The metropolis even plans on directing the owners of houses facing the major city roads to re-paint their houses with similar colour for uniformity.

“It’s the duty of these house owners to give the street facing houses a makeover and use a uniform colour for city beautification” says Aryal, who also heads a recently formed Saarc Summit Preparation Committee.

According to Aryal, the Ministry of Urban Development will release a few colours for the house owners to choose to their convenience. Right now, the KMC is in the process of assessing and determining the resources required for the projects. Once the process is through, KMC will make an action plan for the projects and request the government for budget. The total budget estimated by the metropolis for these projects is Rs 800 million. For the last Saarc summit, the government had invested around Rs 60 million.

The budget is much bigger this time (13.3 times more) but so are the projects. Aryal says they plan to call the business houses to invest in the projects under public-private partnership (PPP) system with the government investing 75 percent of the total budget.

Source: 2014-04-11, Kathmandu Post

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