Cables: Source Of Power, Prosperity

 

 

Prem Khatry

 

Scientists say human body system is the prototype of cable and the miracles it creates in the body universe. Nothing is more complicated than the cable net of the smallest possible veins in the body of humans and animals. A human body stands, walks, thinks and acts according to the planned and programmed system of those highly complicated veins called the ‘neuro system.’  One small, negligible misalignment or a minor damage in any part of the integrated and collaborative nervous system can cause malfunction in the whole body, heart and intelligence.

Nepal has entered the cable world in several different ways in different time periods. Like many resource draining items, the huge bulk of cable network comes from the south. Even international news channels come via the southern neighbour’s wide network. Things may change later but at least not now.  One latest news story says there will be one large scope link from across the Himalayas as well.  Bilateral papers have been signed between the two telecom offices – China and Nepal.  This will herald the end of one-nation dependency in the field of communication. And, this is big news for Nepali consumers of Nepal Telcom.

There are now interstate connections, nationwide connections and local connections. Net has been accessible to a large portion of Nepal’s population.

There is one more type of cable that was introduced in Nepal more than two decades ago and lately it is much in news headlines – the cable car – of the past, the present and the future.  In the beginning, it came to the famous shrine of Manakamana. A very industrious and visionary Babu Shrestha family of Chitwan put forward the proposal to the government and the brilliant idea of getting to the shrine complex with much less time and less climbing hassle moved the file in the ministry unnaturally faster than normal speed. 

The holy complex of Manakamana drew tourists from Terai and other side of the border in no time. A legend about a dialogue between Shrestha, the owner of the cable car, and then King Birendra also surfaced. King congratulated the man and commented– in fact, this is one example of how a business enterprise can make profit in Nepal. This was a time when many nation-owned businesses were auctioned because they had not earned enough to prove their viability. The king had noted this when he made the said comment. 

Following the success of Manakamana cables, there were new enthusiasts appearing on the scenario where a cable car could change the local scenario where a cable car is proposed.  But before that could happen in remote, difficult parts of Nepal requiring several days’ walkathon, a second but a visionary entrepreneur – Chandra Dhakal – has installed one cable car at Thankot aiming high to reach Chandragiri.  His visionary eyes seem to have seen more than the long cable carrying a few hung cars on several poles along the 2-km long vertical stretch of the cable route.

On the top of the Chandragiri hill now one hears the vexing sounds of the drilling, digging and dumping machines that are now busy destroying nature and causing several concrete gardens to come up from ground zero. Sooner there will be a sizable concrete forest causing the natural forest to lower her head in shame. The busy machines will also subdue the sounds of native birds and animals without mercy. It is a big sacrifice on the part of nature in the name of ‘development.’

It now appears the lovely greenery, many times more than approved for the cable will be turned to concrete, desert and dusty ground in no time. The entrepreneur, who is now smiling and busy to reap the success of his first project, will start laughing loud once the by-products of the cable line up one after another giving him monopoly to loot the forest above and the crowd of the thousands of people queuing to enter the cable cabin below at the entry point.

The cable car project which is drawing millions by month was formally inaugurated by no other than the Prime Minister himself.  Strangely enough, a student of Science and Agriculture himself the PM didn’t seem to notice the very obvious and heart-bleeding destruction of the face of Chandragiri.  There has been a distinct, clear and visible destruction in a very cowardly way.  How come one person or a project can receive such a license to damage nature for the sake of his, an individual’s even un-quenching thirst for money? Obviously, he wants to beat Manakamana in terms of amassing wealth in no time, and with the very high ranking blessings and support he surely will. People say he will also support many invisible actors along the road.

During the inauguration, the PM had some other things in mind. Deep in the pool of criticism, he posed dry and clarified his position that he had nothing to do with this or similar projects in terms of exchange of hands with bill-filled briefcases.

Whatever the saga of Chandragiri and the springing of a concrete hotel town, cable car is a solution to multiple problems faced the people – pilgrims to Pathibhara, or other places or vegetable and milk producers of Bhattedanda of Lalitpur, among other places. The prime concern of the constructor should be the least amount of damage on the land surface. Planners and builders must stay away from potential unfavourable comments and criticisms from the public or the media.

Finally, when the scribe climbed Chandragiri through the cable car a few foreigners lining up at the ticket counter or already on the hill commented on the dual price system. Why should I pay more when I occupy the same size of seat here or out there in the airport? Some of them demanded to know from their fellow passengers. But no one could answer them.

 

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