No land for tree plantation campaign, says KMC

Kathmandu, March 5

Kathmandu Metropolitan City says there is no land available for the plantation programme, which is an initiative to expand greenery in Kathmandu.

Gryanendra Karki, a spokesperson at KMC, said the lands that are available have been encroached upon. “Public lands have been encroached upon by squatters and there is no space on footpaths to plant trees,” Karki told The Himalayan Times.

Further, Karki explains why the footpath  plantation is almost impossible. “We have flat footpaths on the  Maitighar-Tinkune stretch, Durbar Marg and just a handful of places  where trees have already been planted. Besides those, we don’t have any other  footpath that is more than three metres wide” the spokesperson added.

Apart from the footpaths, squatters have encroached on all river banks which come under the KMC. Karki points out that the landless people who occupy these areas have been there for over four decades now. Efforts by the government to resettle squatters have failed and the last attempt to clear the river banks saw a heavy blow back.

According to squatters’ umbrella party, Nepal Landless Democratic Union Party, there are more than 29,000 landless people in 73 different settlements across all river banks in Kathmandu Valley. Similarly, a few hundred squatters have been occupying public land in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur for decades.

As the Melamchi Project intensified pipeline installation work in various parts of Kathmandu Valley, major highways and inner ways have been badly affected. The dust from the construction only added to air pollution in the city. Authorities at the Melamchi Project said the project was responsible for only 20 per cent of the total air pollution in Kathmandu. Besides Melamchi project, vehicles and brick kilns have been the major contributors to air pollution.