Tuesday, 29 November 2016
The outer ring road for the Kathmandu valley is back in the news. I first thought it to be an April fool’s joke but it was not. The plan for outer ring road did its rounds a decade ago but then ran aground due to litigation issues related to land acquisition. The rational for building this road is probably even more ambiguous and questionable today than it was then. The justification for building the outer ring road and determining its alignment did not come from a traffic planning exercise. The explanation was given at the time that the concept was to broaden the service road for Melamchi water supply pipeline. This project in itself shows the government’s prioritisation for the mega infrastructure projects, ignoring the need to deal with the complexity of subtle improvements and details. The project has now come under the Ministry of Urban Development and I have been told that it is the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority that has taken responsibility for this grand endeavour. The press release states that the eight-lane, 72 kilometre long highway would encircle the valley ‘in a bid to ease the pressure of vehicular traffic in the valley’. Till today I have not seen any studies on the present status of traffic in the valley — how traffic will develop in the future and any strategic plan on how traffic will be guided. We first need to understand what kind of traffic we have and how the traffic flows. The road widening that was carried out before the earthquake sliced buildings along the main roads preparing us for the images of destruction caused by the earthquake. The wide roads have attracted more traffic, which gets stuck in long queues at the next road crossing.
Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life. You get to forget your problems/issues for a few weeks, it can also help you figure things out that you would not have understood without the distance traveling can give you. We all have crazy schedules, work and a family to take care of, going away alone or with some friends can give you distance and perhaps even make you realize how important these people are for you. Like the saying says: we never know what we have until we lose it.
Another great benefit is the relaxation you get to do. It’s nice to live life to its fullest and enjoy a stress free time with yourself. Going on vacation lets us recharge our “batteries” by disconnecting us from our regular life. When we come back we feel invigorated and we are happy to be back in our day to day routine. It’s a very good stress remover that has a lot more to give than most people are willing to accept.
Traveling increases our knowledge and widens our perspective. To view new customs, different ways of living is fantastic for the mind. It gives us a new perspective about life and especially our life, it can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones. When I travel I usually make it a point to try new food, some cultures don’t have fries in their diet and they are all skinny, others use spices to give taste and not oils or fats. Discovering different values and ways to get by in life is really interesting. You also need to visit exotic new places and discover what this wonderful world has to offer.