The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), upon instruction of mayor Balendra Shah (Balen), dumped a truckload of dirt outside the Road Division Kathmandu office on Saturday.

The action was a protest against the prolonged delay in the expansion project of Ring Road from Kalanki to Maharajgunj.

Mayor Balendra Shah (Balen), taking to the social media, blamed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth for the stagnation. Shah argued that if Mahaseth’s direct order could halt an ongoing project, it could also expedite its completion.

“For the past 15 years, the citizens of Kathmandu have had to breathe dusty air and face hardships in the name of Ring Road expansion,” Shah stated in a social media post. He warned that KMC would continue sending a truckload of dust as a ‘gift’ to Minister Mahaseth daily until the work is resumed.

The second phase of Ring Road expansion was signed on December, 2012 between the governments of Nepal and China. Initially supposed to be completed in 40 months, the project is yet to be completed after 12 years.

Mayor Shah also states that more than 50% of Kathmandu’s poor air quality could be attributed to the dust from the highway expansion. This stat however is misleading as the two leading causes of air pollution in Kathmandu are vehicular emissions which is increasing due to lack of an effective public transport system, and industrial emissions, especially from brick kilns across the valley. Dust from construction which includes other projects attributed to rapid urbanization ranks fourth in the list of pollutants in Kathmandu’s air.