By Our Reporter
The last hour preparations made by the government to hold the fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Kathmandu has both pleased and worried the denizens.
The roads are being fixed by filling up the potholes and blacktopping the worn-out road sections, trees are being trimmed along the Maitighar Tinkune section road and zebra crossing are being painted at several points. However, as these works were carried out in haste to show the delegates, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the newly fixed roads developed potholes again due to the rains of Monday night.
The two-day summit is being held on August 30-31.
The biggest dramatic scenes were created at Tinkune by fencing the ugly space with attractive flexes bearing the pictures of Nepal’s heritage sites like the palaces of the Durbar Squares, Lumbini, Chitwan National Park and the traditional wood carvings. Anyone travelling through Tinkune can get confused as the flexes look like the walls of important monuments.
However, the sad fact is that the government has been blowing money to decorate Tinkune since the eleventh SAARC summit hosted by Nepal back in 2002 when Tinkune was developed like an island. During the 18th SAARC Summit it was fenced with corrugated sheets and now with colourful flexes! People in Kathmandu have been unable to control their laugh seeing the methods applied by the government to show Kathmandu different during international forums like the BIMSTEC summit.
The government applied its resources to beautify the roads to and from Soaltee Hotel, the summit venue, and the Hyat Regency, the residence hotel for the delegates. The wares hanging by the roadsides have also been fixed on the route from Bouddha to Soaltee Hotel. Welcome gates have also been erected on this road. Mostly, the traffic policemen were mobilised to erect the gates early in the morning.
However, when the works to fix the potholes and blacktopped the roads were carried out during the day time, the drivers and passengers faced traffic jams. Moreover, the introduction of odd and even number system in the public transportation from Wednesday also added woes as they were unable to find vehicles to reach their destination.
Meanwhile, the government’s plan to host retreat at Gokarna Resort was cancelled owing to bad road to reach the Resort.
The works relating to writing of Declaration and its contents have already been finalised while preliminary meeting such as the secretarial meeting of the Secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of External Affairs of the member countries and the ministerial level meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs/Minister of External Affairs of the member countries concluded on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
The summit, as informed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, would be attended by the Chief Justice of Bhutan, Prime Ministers of India, Bangladesh and Thailand presidents of Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
BIMSTEC has seven countries which lie near the Bay of Bengal as its members. They include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Pakistan is excluded in this block as it is brainchild of India, arch rival of Pakisatn.