kathmandu-sawari-traffic-jam

Kathmandu Citizens Pay The Price Again For VIP Sawari

Visits from foreign delegates are an important part of maintaining foreign relationships; but how fair is it for the citizens to pay for their VIP sawari?

Commuters in Kathmandu going about their day were met with unexpected congestions at various parts of the city yesterday. The reason was a sawari for two Very Very Important Persons coming in from China representing the Chinese Communist Party’s top leadership. Obviously, they would need to get the top-level VIP sawari. 

Political visits of this manner are an essential part of maintaining foreign relations for any country. As important representatives of foreign nations, they do deserve the best when it comes to their security. But this shouldn’t be at the cost of the livelihood of an entire city’s citizens. 

As the capital city of a developing nation, Kathmandu has more than 800,000 permanent residents. An overwhelming section of the city’s residents throughout most of the year are those who have left their homes from all over the country to make a living in the capital. Last year, news outlets reported that around 900,000 people left Kathmandu city to celebrate Dashain with their family members. 

Among those that take to Kathmandu’s roads on the daily include students, teachers, medical personnel, and ambulances. All of these came to a screeching halt last evening, when important delegates from China landed in Kathmandu. The visit is scheduled to last a number of days. Routine of Nepal Banda published a schedule for the visits that foretold a dreary outlook for Kathmandu citizens in that time. The level of impunity with which the government finds it fit to simply sideline its citizens, the citizens that it has been elected to serve in the first place, is simply absurd. 

Director Nischal Basnet managed to snap a photo of an ambulance stuck in the city-wide congestion, leaving a scathing comment against the government’s methods. The smooth operation of the economy and an easy passage to work for a living; that’s the bare minimum a government should ensure. The fact that we’re a small country with a small capital shouldn’t matter; there should be no compromise against the capital’s well-being. 

koteshwor-jam-rider

RONB also posted an image from today’s congestion at Koteshwor, arguably the most important intersection in the entire city. A motorbike rider found the wait so long that he decided to start browsing through his FYP right there, in the middle of the road, seated on his vehicle. Multiply this by the hundreds and thousands of people who found their commute obstructed by inadequate and frankly irresponsible planning by the government, and you have countless of hours lost — hours where people could have been earning a living, and hours which could have been spent enjoying the company of family. 

The government found it a no-brainer to make the residents of Kathmandu pay with hours out of their life rather than planning a better way to handle the Chinese delegates’ visit to the country. Once again, the citizens’ livelihood should be an area of no-compromise for an event such as this. Sadly, though, Kathmandu will have to face the very same for a number of days more, just so that our country’s leaders can appease a few foreign VIPs. 

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