Just today, when I was walking by the UN Park road which was under construction and had swampy areas, I decided to risk taking narrow careful steps through the route rather than going back all the way and taking another route wasting a lot of time. I jumped to and fro the sloppy heaps of sand deliberately to reach my destination. Little did I know that I would accidentally drown into a disgusting bog that seemed like a little puddle? My right leg was completely dripped and I felt the gravity pulling me deeper and deeper. Panting and panicking, I managed to gain back my momentum pressing piles of grasses that frowned near the area my left foot stood on. I was finally out of the scary bog and breathed a sigh of relief but does it end here?
This is just one instance of what people here have to undergo due to the poor condition of our roads. A video had recently gone viral where a girl coming back from school during heavy rain was swept to a distance which was assumed to be an unmanaged tunnel. At a time when I was only thinking who is to blame for all these, I became a victim of this problem and realized the gravity of this issue is much more than we have heard of.
The vulnerabilities of our roads are more highlighted during rainy seasons as the mud and bogs make the condition worse exposing the people to a greater level of danger. Almost at every area you walk, either the sewerage is not managed, or the tunnels are dispatched or there is no flat convenient road to walk at all or the so-called graveled road is a hub for garbage and dust. We can rarely find a safe and managed area to walk these days. Living in Kathmandu-the metropolitan city assumed to have the best infrastructure in the nation, if this is the condition, we can barely imagine what happens in the remote areas where there is no access to even the basic infrastructures.
Every day, we get to hear news of bus accidents and other road mishaps. Is it always because of the reckless driving style of the drivers? What about the devastating situation of our roads? When will it stop? And, who is to blame for this? These questions and discussions have only been limited to posts in social media and a few sit-in protests to take this issue to the government but, the ultimate part always goes in vain. A serious accident occurs, it becomes viral, an outrage from the public takes place, and the blame game gets heated for a while but, what after that? The issue gradually loses leverage and life gets back to what it used to be like. The problem is not addressed and the cycle repeats.
The local level election has just ended instilling high hopes in people that their elected representatives will acknowledge their problems and bring an end to it. We are tired of incomplete construction projects and fake promises. We are tired of taking risks every day walking on such roads. We are tired of waiting that someday it will all get better. The utmost atrocities it brings must come to an end. This issue needs attention from every one and stringent actions from the government. For this, the concerned authorities must react; we don’t want only talks and projects, we want implementations and evaluations so that we can access safe and sound infrastructures. Is it too much to ask for?
Photograph: Dipendra Bhandari/twitter
By Drishti Maharjan