The futurist: A Kathmandu metro system
Buddhist devotees pray at Boudhanath Stupa, a World Heritage site, in Katmandu. Since the 1960s, the area has been a haven for hikers and hippies. (Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press)
Kathmandu, capital of Nepal and gateway to the Himalayas, sits surrounded by ancient towns and temples in the bowl-like Kathmandu Valley.
Since the 1960s, the area has been a haven for hikers and hippies, but the valley is being threatened by the terrible air pollution. Increasing development and a population of four million, plus unregulated factories and a 17% increase in vehicles per year, has created an air pollution problem that the Nepalese government is desperate to solve.
Some of the factories are now closed part of the year and the government is looking into the possibility of a metro system in the Kathmandu Valley. The Mass Rapid Transit system will include 75km of underground and elevated rail, including a stretch that follows the city’s Ring Road. To ease congestion in the city core where traffic is consistently the worst, eight lines will leave from Ratna Park/New Road and connect to various spots on the Ring Road.
The government short-listed six firms in Korea, India, Canada, France and Thailand to conduct the studies and provide estimates in environmental and financial cost. The winning firm will be selected in mid-July.