Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Govt in search of new alternatives to garbage menace

Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Oct 23 - After being driven out by the local people’s protest at Chovar, the newly proposed landfill site, the government is in search of new possibilities to solve the capitals’s garbage crisis.

Secretary of Sanitation Sub-committee at Ministry of Local Development Bishombhar Lal Pradhan said making a landfill site in these days is an extremely difficult task.

He said, "We know nobody would lay red carpet for piles of garbage, but we are also working hard to meet all the local people’s demands so that we could get cooperation from them in this high-hitting crisis."

Pradhan said that dialogue with the representatives of Chovar as well as other sides is still going on and the ministry would take any step only after the locals are convinced.

Attempts of Ministry of Local Development to solve the problem of garbage once again faced a slap of failure on 18 October, even before the idea took any shape, when the locals of Chovar protested against the government’s proposal.

After being driven out from Guheshowori area, the slope around Chovar gorge was chosen as a short term solution for the bulging garbage which Kathmandu Metropolitan City has been collecting for the last two weeks in its small collection centre.

The government authorities and KMC planned to develop the barren area of Chovar as a landfill site and also to convert it into a composting plant for the over 300 tonnes of garbage the capital produces everyday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Development Ram Chandra Paudel himself took initiative to find a short-term landfill area to solve the crisis immediately.

But, as usual, the locals of Chovar, already hit by the irresistible pollution of Himal Cement Factory, made a series of protests against that proposal.

Mayor of Kirtipur Municipality Hira Kaji Maharjan said, "It is not proper to bring garbage of one place to another. We discussed on this topic and reached a conclusion that allowing any garbage dumping from another area is impossible."

The protests took a political turn when representatives of different parties took steps in forming protest groups, organising mass meetings and issuing press releases.

The locals claim that the controversy of Chovar is merely political and the leaders are "playing games" with the innocent locals.

Now, even the local Nepali Congress leader is not ready to support the government in this issue. NC Chairman of constituency no 7 of Kathmandu, Rajan KC said "Though I am affiliated with the ruling party, I have told the deputy prime minster that I can’t help the government in this issue."
[Kathmandu Tuesday October 24, 2000 Kartik 08, 2057.]