Kathmandu, December 21
Occupy Tundikhel campaigners today held a story telling session at Tundikhel as their campaign entered the seventh week.
Kathmandu locals with the support of rights activists and member of civil society have launched the campaign in a bid to exert pressure on the government to stop illegal encroachment of Tundikhel and spread awareness among the general public about importance of open space in the city.
People representing civil society and human rights organisation today participated in the story telling session. At the event, The participants said the political parties had used Khula Manch, a part of Tundikhel, for protest programmes, rallies and political gatherings in the past. “But now they have forgotten the importance of Khula Manch.”
Khula Manch, an open area in the heart of the city, was in the past used as a major venue for all kinds of political activities. Khula Manch is also remembered for providing refuge to thousands of people during the 2015 earthquakes. But since then, one-third of the open space has been used as a bus park. Similarly, a large portion of the open space has been used to store construction materials for the under-construction Dharahara and Durbar High School. The little space remaining in the front part of Khula Manch has also been used as a parking lot with tacit permission from KMC.
According to historians, before 1950, Tundikhel covered an area ranging form Dasharath Stadium in the south to Rani Pokhari in the north. The area, which has been occupied by Nepali Army’s headquarters at present from Shahidgate in the north to Dasharath Stadium in the South was a part of Tundikhel until 1967, according to Bhimsen Das Pradhan, a lawmaker. At present, the area of Tundikhel has shrunk to the Nepali Army’s Pavilion adjoining Khula Manch, which is not open for the public. Similarly, Khula Manch is also not open to the public anymore. More than two-thirds of the area is occupied by construction materials, while the remaining area is used as bus park, leaving no space for the public.
A version of this article appears in print on December 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.