HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government’s attempt to resettle 55 households of genuine squatters at Dhobighat of Lalitpur has proved problematic after severe protest from local people. The squatters are also uninterested in the scheme owing to the protest.
According to the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), only 11 sheds were built for squatters although the government planned to erect 55 huts. “The problem arose after local residents protested,” said Suresh Prakash Acharya, spokesperson for MoUD.
The government had plans to settle squatters evicted from Thapathali on government land at Dhobighat for the time being. However, the local people have been protesting the government’s plan.
“We are holding discussion with stakeholders. We are yet to decide on the alternative to be taken in order to solve the problem,” said Acharya. “We will come up with a solution within a few days,” he added.
The government has already purchased about seven ropani land at Ichangu Narayan VDC of Kathmandu to settle genuine squatters permanently. The government is going to launch a pilot project at the site. Some 200 households of genuine squatters will be settled at Ichangu Narayan within a year, according to MoUD. Ninety million rupees has been allocated to construct buildings for 200 families.
Earlier, the locals of Kirtipur and surrounding areas protested the government plan to settle squatters and landless people at Chobhar of Kirtipur in Kathmandu.
Following Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s assurance that evicted squatters would be resettled at Himal Cement Factory in Chobhar, locals and different political parties active in the area had challenged the government plan.
The government had forcefully evicted the squatters and landless people by bulldozing the houses and huts on the bank of the Bagmati River at Thapathali about three months ago. The squatters had illegally settled there about five years ago.
About 297 huts and houses erected illegally at Thapathali were demolished this morning, according to the Empowered Bagmati Civilisation Development Committee.