Locals affected by road expansion campaign file complaint at NHRC

Kathmandu, June 28

Locals affected by the ongoing road expansion drive in Kathmandu valley today registered a complaint against ministries, government offices and local levels at the National Human Rights Commission.

Stating that historic monuments and cultural heritages were being destroyed in the name of development, the locals also claimed that the road expansion drive had made many people homeless.  The locals are affiliated to Road Expansion Affected Struggle Committee,  Nepal Cultural Restoration Campaign, Save Nepa Valley Campaign, Khokana Peoples’ Concern Committee, Newa Political Campaign and Newa Gwohali Pucha.

The complaint registered at NHRC states that houses are being demolished displacing indigenous locals. It also claims that the government did not provide any compensation to the displaced locals.

The locals have urged the NHRC to pile pressure on the government to respect people’s right to property. They said the government had defied the Supreme Court’s order to provide adequate compensation to the locals affected by the road expansion drive.

Suraj Maharjan, a rights activist, said, “Development projects, especially the road expansion drive, have forced eviction of the indigenous Newar people from places where they have lived for centuries. For example, the fast track project, which has been proposed to pass through the ancient town of Khokana, will not only destroy historic monument, but also the cultural heritage of the locals.”

Maharjan said their fight was not for compensation, but for justice. The UN Special Rapporteur’s Report issued on August 14, 2017 had urged the government to carry out development projects seeking people’s ‘free, prior and informed’ consent. It also stated that the government supported ‘enforced eviction’ of indigenous people. It had also suggested to the government not to deploy armed security force while undertaking development projects.