Dustmandu To Mudmandu

Bishnu Gautam

The rainfall of Sunday together with hailstones in the Kathmandu Valley and eastern parts of the country came as a big relief for the farmers and others. In many parts of the valley and eastern hills it happened to be the first rainfall of winter. It means some areas received rains in six months after the end of monsoon. People from Jhapa in the east to Kathmandu posted pictures of rainfalls and hailstones in the social sites with comments reflecting their happiness for receiving the rains after a long gap.
“Jhapa received the first moderate rainfall of this season,” a friend wrote together with a picture on his facebook. Obviously, the rains are real boon to vegetable farmers and the farmers who are preparing to plant Chaite Dhan (the paddy which is planted in March/April) and to those who were unable to plough their paddy fields and other farms to sow maize.
Even for the city people, the rain was useful as it settled the dust. The people in Kathmandu, who were fed up with dust, took the rains as a remedy to the problem they have been facing over the months. At least, the denizens get an opportunity to walk in the city without wearing a mask for one or two days.
However, many denizens who had felt a solace when it ran in the day discovered on way home in the evening that they had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire as they found it difficult to walk home after getting off their buses. The roads were buried under the flood water. Even in some places, they were unable to cross the road which looked like paddy field readied to plant paddy. Of course, the rains seem to have turned Kathmandu from ‘dustmandu’ to ‘mudmandu’.
On Monday morning, when this scribe went to buy some green vegetables, he was shocked to see the condition of the road after the rains. Some section of road had turned into a pond of dirty water, and crossing it was beyond the imagination. People were walking on a side of the road to find a point to cross it. Such a problem was common where the road expansion drive has not completed.
On the Sunday evening, when two lady passengers with a toddler with them asked the helper of the bus whether the bus reached Gandhi School, the helper told them honestly that it reached Khahare and they had to walk. Upon hearing their conversation, I had imagined the plight the two ladies would face while walking from Khahare to Gandhi School, because the portion of the road probably becomes the muddiest road in Kathmandu during rains.
Of course, the slow-paced ongoing road-widening work and the incompetency on the part of the government and municipal authorities should be blamed for the poor condition of the roads. The authorities hardly bother to fix the potholes in time and keep the roads clean. On Sunday morning I had noticed about six men sweeping the road near the office of Kathmandu Metropolis Ward No. 32. Seeing them, I was pleased that the KMC had begun removing dust from the road. But on Monday morning, I saw they swept but left the heap of the dust in a corner which turned into mud after the rains. Had they taken away the dust, the road would not have been so muddy.

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