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Traditional Water Sources

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Water from Melamchi Print E-mail
Posted by Administrator   
Friday, 13 January 2012
 By: Mani Dixit

In the preface of ‘SHATRU of Kathmandu’ I had quoted Oshu who wrote in his The Science of Meditation: “The criminal and the politician are the same type of people. If the criminal becomes politically successful he is a great leader. If the politician cannot succeed in being in power he becomes a criminal. They are destructive people: their whole effort is to dominate others.”

Our country is literally in the doldrums. Law and order is at a nadir or its lowest point. The businessmen are being harassed or even killed in the process of extracting either protection money or carrying out frank robbery. Innocent children are being abducted for ransom and girls are being trafficked from different parts of the country. It seems that hell has broken loose all over. The All Seeing Eyes of Lord Buddha atop Swayambhu are downcast. Shri Pashupatinath does not seem to be protecting us.
About twenty years ago when Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was the prime minister, he had pronounced that he would make Kathmandu like Singapur and that there would be no shortage of water to the extent that we would be able to clean or wash out our streets with the extensive supply of water from Melamchi. As one recalls those words, one wonders if we are waiting to see the Mirage of Helambu instead. During the Rana days, it was rumored that most of their Durbars employed rosy cheeked girls from Helambu, dancing and skipping from here to there. These days, as one goes about the banks of Rudramati, Bagmati or Bishnumati, one sees tents of squatters, quarry workers on the banks by the sides of the canals under construction.
Big boulders are being carted by dwarfed or swarthy individuals building strong wave resisting walls by the side. Currently, these canals seem, however, to be filled with foul smelling, sewage containing water. Small rags and plastic bags, tangled in the lowly hung telephone or cable TV wires, flutter like prayer flags in the breeze that wafts up from the water flowing within. As one asks bystanders about it, some say it is for the ‘Melamchi ko pani’ to flow along in a controlled manner, whilst others say that it is ‘embankment roads for Kathmanduites’ to drive their cars along.
The obvious question then arises as to whether such efforts in earnest are to ‘quench the thirst’ or to ‘fulfill the foibles’ of the capital dwellers. The incumbent Prime Minister Bhattarai II has got a trick or two up his sleeve so that the reigns of the Bhattarai’s are sure to overshadow the rule of the Ranas, if not that of the Shahs. What remains to be seen is whether this Bhattarai’s reign is sustainable and if there is the possibility of a son, sorry daughter rising in the horizon. After all, it is in the tradition of practices not only of North Korea but also that of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka of our region! But, is the role of the dam or embankment builders that is creating some uneasiness amongst the Kathmandu dwellers? It used to be said some time ago that if the capital residents did not behave, an onslaught would be made by the hordes of party supporters who would be ferried into the valley on buses and trucks from areas outside.
The new reality is that it will not be necessary anymore as they are all already here at our doorsteps. There is some semblance of order as they carry out willingly the tasks that they have been allotted. So, who does the valley belong to now? Is it the original dwellers or the new lords who have streamed in over the years so that the demographic pattern of the capital has changed from that of historical times? In those days of feuds and running battles, it used to be said that “Winners take all”. Looking at the faces of the Nepalis around me, I wonder as to who is a winner and who is a loser. Though a maritime reference is somewhat inappropriate in a mountainous, landlocked country, we might just say, “We are all in this together, whether we sink or swim.”
In the Nepal of olden days, it used to be said, ‘Where the river flows, the water goes’. One cannot but appreciate at this time the robot like dedication with which the current crops of workers are glued to their tasks. They outsmart by far the Department of Roads workers shoveling a little dirt here and there. If the same sort of zeal had been shown at the various hydropower sites all over country we would not have had to put up with fifteen hours of load shedding daily.
So what hope is there? Is it the new constitution? Is it the new federal structure? Is it the new calendar to reckon our days and to discuss what the future holds for us? Is it the Nepal Era, the Bikram Sambat or the Gregorian calendar that we are going to adopt for all official tasks? What about the PLAs of the Maoists and their arms containers? Where are they finally destined to go? Are the problems of us Nepalis ever going to be solved? Who is going to be our Saviour?

Source: The Himalayan Times, January 13, 2012
 
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