Kathmandu, June 24
Locals of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts staged a demonstration today evening reminding the lawmakers to withdraw the Guthi Bill registered in the National Assembly.
The National Assembly meeting is scheduled to be held tomorrow.
The locals, especially people of Newar community, have been demanding that the bill should be scrapped. According to locals, the bill aims to change the operation modality and ownership structure of guthis, which, many say, will pave the way for the land mafia to make hay.
Following widespread protests and criticism against the bill, Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal, at a press meet on June 18, had said that the ministry had decided to withdraw the bill. The controversial Guthi Bill was registered in the National Assembly on April 30.
The locals, however, have been casting doubts that the lawmakers might again move the bill ahead since it has not been formally withdrawn from the House.
Locals of Basantapur, Mangal Bazaar, Thimi, Saakhu, Balaju, Tokha and Bungmati, among other old Newari settlements, took to the streets today warning the government against any kind of cheating.
Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a conservation activist, said, “The government should not try to deceive people with fake promises. If the lawmakers fail to withdraw the Guthi Bill, they should be ready to face consequences.”
Locals have warned that if the government does not withdraw the bill, they will launch stringent protests in the coming days. Locals have also demanded that the new draft of the bill should be prepared since the current laws for regulating guthis are also not complete. “We demand that the government seek suggestions from stakeholders, guthiyars (trustees), and locals while drafting the new bill,” Shrestha said.
Thousands of people from the Newar community, despite the government’s withdrawal of the controversial Guthi Bill on June 19, had gathered at Maitighar Mandala in a show of strength protest.