KMC home to 90 pc of valley’s squatters

Kathmandu, June 28:

Around 90 per cent of squatters of the Kathmandu valley have been living in the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), a report states.

The report, prepared by the Society of Economic Journalists of Nepal (SEJON) and Action Aid Nepal and released here yesterday, states that around 90 per cent of unmanaged settlements of the valley are located in the KMC.

According to surveys conducted by various organisations on different dates, there are 66 settlements of squatters in the Kathmandu valley. On an average, some 11,900 people have been living in 1,700 houses. Speaking at an interaction on ‘Problems of Urban Squatters’, Shiva Duwadi, of the SEJON, said, “Though the squatters have been living in these houses, they do not have land ownership certificates. They are frequently chased from

their settlements because they do not possess land ownership certificates,” said Duwadi.

“Though genuine citizens of Nepal, they do not possess citizenship certificates. As a result, they cannot avail themselves of facilities provided by the state.” The squatters are underprivileged as education, health, sanitation and drinking water are beyond their reach.

However, government officers accused the squatters of occupying lands at commercially important places. Once the so-called squatters obtain citizenship certificates, they sell their land and become “landless” again. According to the report, they then eye the land lying idle in other parts of the valley.

Unemployment forces them to resort to sand mining in the riverbanks and stealing properties. A representative of the squatters accused the government of not bothering to address their

problems. Jorpati, Kalopul, Kumarigaal, Anamnagar, Balaju, Chabahil, Shan-khamul, Thapathali, Tundikhel are among the places where a majority of squatters reside.