Urban affair: The incoordination and the denial of access to drinking water

In the earlier blog, I had spoken of how the lack of coordination between local governments and federal agencies had led to delivery of infrastructural services that instead troubled the local neighborhood than benefited them. This blog particularly speaks of the very lack of coordination that has led to denial of drinking water service at the disadvantage of the certain local neighborhood within the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

Rushing to the context, getting a new water tap connection from the state-owned Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) for a residence requires applicants to receive recommendation from the local ward office in order to fulfill an important requirement for the application process. While the ward office gets the recommendation letter ready at the non-refundable charge of thousand rupees for residence building with structural blueprints, residents of other makeshift residence building without the structural blueprint is charged FIVE TIMES HIGHER! (i.e., five thousand rupees) in order to get through the process. Regardless, the exorbitant price could be justifiable on grounds of special effort of the KMC to enable access of drinking water to residents living even in semi-legalized buildings.

Despite the empathetic effort of the KMC to enable access to drinking water to all comes at no avail as KUKL denies to receive application for tap water connection for makeshift buildings. This denial comes at the shock of the applicants as the ward offices of KMC had clearly provided the green signal to allow water tap connection to the very residents by charging a high sum. Alas, the unsuccessful end to the application leads to the applicants losing a significant sum of money at non-refundable service charge for receiving recommendation letter from the ward office in along with at least two full working days that it takes to fulfill the application requirements between the concerned agencies. Not to mention, it also quickly reveals the so-called effort of the KMC towards enabling access of drinking water to all residents as nothing more than a “government fraudulent scheme” happening through official government process during office hours. But, the lack of coordination between KMC ward offices and KUKL is to take the full blame here.

The provided scenario is a classic illustration of denial of infrastructural service for citizens as the result of lack of proper coordination between multiple governances within the federal setup of the country. Also, it is one of the prime challenges for governments to resolve in order ensure effective and efficient services for the public as pledged by the federal system. While such coordination difficulties between multiple independent governments is anticipated as the cost of federalism during the early phases, the entire system needs to work towards overcoming such costs and leverage federalism in order to secure greater benefits for the citizens of Nepal. And of course, swift and reliable access to drinking waters for general Nepalese is definitely one of the many indicators also represented in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that ensures such.

Prience Shrestha

Prience works in the research department at Samriddhi Foundation. And, he attempts to specialize in the field of Development Economics

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