Thousands of Traffic – Not a Single Traffic Light

Kathmandu, Nepal: traffic on Kantipath Rd - photo by J.Pemberton
Photo: Nepal Advisor

Kathmandu Metropolitan city undoubtedly has the highest number of traffic plying in the country. According to Metropolitan traffic police division, there are 828,000 plus vehicles alone in the capital city. More interestingly, if the length of all these vehicles would be measured then it would outlast the length of the road by 2.4 million feet. This might fascinate you more i.e. there are no single traffic lights to regulate this gigantic number of vehicles. 1,200 traffic policemen have to manually control this enormous figure of traffic. There might be some traffic lights that have been withered and rusted and is of no use rather than to gaze at the haphazard traffic in the valley.

The valley denizens along with all the concerned authority are aware of the scenario but no one seems to care. It was not even mentioned in the manifesto of any parties that had competed for the mayor and deputy mayor of the capital city in the recent local election. They had all those complex things mentioned but no one thought that a problem of the traffic light was important. They must be ignorant about the number of accidents that occurs on road and people loosing lives in the road mishaps. In addition, the concerned authority travels with sirens hence they have never been on the perpetual traffic jam and do not know the value of traffic lights.

Often there is news about big corporate houses giving drones, big LED displays, motorbikes, and road dividers to traffic police for proper traffic management but the installation of traffic lights and their maintenance did not felt important. Fitting of close circuit camera for vigilance on the roads of Kathmandu has been getting momentum but traffic lights do not fall under priority for traffic police themselves. They may have it but at least for now and past years, it does not seem so.

No one knows when the traffic light will assist the traffic police in the capital to manage the traffic but it seems that it is not going to happen soon. When the metropolis of other country has technologies to control traffics with traffic police to be seen nowhere except for emergencies; Kathmandu is still struggling to have a solo traffic light.