KATHMANDU: Demolition of squatter colonies has started in an unprecedented manner from today under the Baburam Bhattarai administration.
Large numbers of police personnel have been deployed to evacuate shanties on the banks of Bagmati River in Thapathali of Kathmandu.
Bulldozers are demolishing the hovels and huts with the use of force.
Around 3000 police personnel from Civil Police and Armed Police Force have been mobilised since the Tuesday’s pre-dawn darkness to carry out the demolition drive.
Though the government has decided to provide Rs 15,000 to each household of genuine squatters as the immediate relief, a crowd of hundreds of squatters had clashed with the police personnel before the demolition commenced.
Squatters blocked the police by pelting stones at them. They were heard ranting words against anti-squatters plans and policies of the incumbent government.
Though the initiatives to drive away squatters from encroached land and rehabilitate them started three years ago, but no move was that effective.
About the rehabilitation of squatters, the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) has purchased about eight ropani of land at Ichangu Narayan Village Development Committee in Kathmandu to resettle the genuine squatters. The government also allocated Rs 30 million in the current fiscal as in the previous years for the construction of apartments for the squatters.
Despite all these initiatives, the squatters await for a place they can call their home.
(A girl leaving her abode with her belongings following the demolition of squatter colonies in Thapathali on Tuesday May 8, 2012)
All photos are by THT photographer Bal Krishna Thapa