Evacuated people seek rehabilitation

Kathmandu, June 2:

The people, whose houses the government authorities destroyed on May 31, today claimed that the land on which the houses were made belonged to them and demanded immediate rehabilitation.

Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, Bhaktapur district administration office and Kathmandu Metropolitan City, with the help of security personnel, had demolished 67 houses built on the banks of Manohara river to make space for the Manohara Land Pooling Project. Organising a press meet, the victims claimed that the land belonged to them. “People with vested interests want the land to sell it for personal benefit,” said Hari Pokharel, coordinator of the struggle committee of the displaced. “We have been living on the land for over five generations,” he said.

He even claimed they have come to know the people behind the plan and would disclose their names when they collect enough evidence.

Gokul Sharma, a local resident, said the government authority demolished houses built on Guthi land without even asking them to vacate the place. “They demolished the houses without informing them,” said Sharma, adding: “It was a barbaric act in a democratic society.”

“We are not squatters but we have been made ones,” said Duryodhan Basnet, another local. He said the Guthi Coorporation had allowed them to make house on the land.

Namas Karki, a lawyer, said the local authority demolished the houses by defying the court order. He also claimed that the houses were not build illegally. “We have all the documents to prove that the land belonged to the Guthi,” he said. He said they would launch a legal fight as well as other protest programmes against the evacuation.

Meanwhile, talking to this daily, Chief Executive Officer of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Dinesh Thapaliya, said the houses were demolished because they were made illegally. He said the KMC would demolish all the houses made on public land.