Kathmandu, July 19:

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has decided to start work on the construction of a park in Tinkune after monsoon.

“The open space will be free from encroachment. After the monsoon, we will fence the area and build a park of international standard,” Dev Kumar Rai, member-secretary of the Compensation Distribution Task Force of the KMC, told this daily.

Squatters were evacuated from the area during the Panchayat era. Undeterred, they occupied part of the space again.

The then mayor of KMC Keshav Sthapit evacuated the squatters from the area in the run-up to the 11th Summit of the South Asians’ Association of Regional Cooperation.

Till date, compensation has been paid to owners of 16 ropani of land. The process of paying compensation is getting delayed because owners of the land have been seeking hefty compensation.

The area, which lies near the Tribhuvan International Airport, is littered with garbage and people can be seen taking driving lessons there.

During king Gyanendra’s rule, the then mayor of Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City, Keshav Sthapit, had proposed that the tallest statue of Buddha be built in the area.

Dev Kumar Rai of the task force said, “Seven years ago, Keshav Sthapit had floated a design for the development of the area as a park. We cannot initiate the process to develop a park because we are yet to compensate a number of land-owners. After the monsoon, a wall will be built around the spot to prevent misuse of the place.”

Rai said, “The government has so far provided just Rs 6 crore. Last year, it agreed to provide Rs 9 crore more to the KMC. We plan to start work on the park soon, but unavailability of some documents is creating problems.”

“We were supposed to provide compensation to owners of 35 ropani of land. Out of this, we have paid compensation to owners of 16 ropani of land. Some landowners are seeking hefty compensation. They should understand our constraints and cooperate with us.”

According to locals of Tinkune, the government has not compensated a number of land-owners.

The government and the KMC had promised to compensate land owners at market value and started demolishing garages, shops and huts.

Dipendra Prasad Parajuli, owner of 2.5 ropani of land in the open space, has not received compensation yet. Parajuli said, “Only some people have received compensation.”

“It’s been years since I heard about the plan to build a park here, but the government is not even bothered about removing garbage from the place. People organise parties here and learn to drive,” said Sanu Maiya KC, a local of Tinkune.