The date for the BIMSTEC Summit is just days away. Scheduled to be held on Kathmandu on August 30-31, leaders of many neighboring countries will be attending the summit BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. This regional grouping includes Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Bhutan. Although this is a small group of countries, the total population accounts to 22% of the entire world’s population.
Now apart from being an honor that leaders from these countries are visiting our humble capital, it’s a nuisance! Yes, all benefits from the decisions made apart, the preparations going into it is making life hard for us residents. First, there was the huge traffic jam all across the town a few days ago. We the travelers are pretty much used to the delay when riding. It’s becoming Kathmandu’s trend to never reach anywhere on time. Still an hour long delay just to get to a place 2 kilometers away was a headache. But the trouble is when emergency vehicles like fire-trucks and ambulances get stuck in a grid lock. Lives were on the line but the vehicles had nowhere to go, with new road construction works blocking traffic. Nobody is against making the city beautiful. Nobody hates seeing new roads built! It’s the utter disregard for the public’s desperation and unmanaged administration.
Now that the summit is days away, in order to manage the traffic the ‘odd- even’ rule is back. For those who do not know, as per the numbers on the vehicles’ number plate, it will decide whether we can drive that day or not. On an ‘Even day’ only vehicles with even numbers on their number plates will be allowed to drive and so on. Great job on trying to hide the problems! People already have a hard time travelling in public vehicles due to the lack of seats. Many passengers hang on to the doors. Many wait for hours. Now, with half the number of vehicles, how will these people travel? What if people have emergencies but no means to travel?
The Summit will focus on issues within the group countries. But if we hide it, even if it means the people unnecessarily suffer, what’s the point? All we can hope is that somehow the leaders make positive decisions and take proper actions for development and all this suffrage was for a valid cause.