Kathmandu, December 7
Amidst the ongoing 13th South Asian Games, scores of social activists and young players today gathered at Tundikhel expressing their solidarity with Occupy Tundikhel campaigners.
The campaign has entered the fifth week. Ever since the beginning of the campaign, activists have been organising various programmes to exert pressure on the government to stop encroachment of Khula Manch, a part of Tundikhel in the past, and also to make people aware about importance of open space.
The slogan for today’s programme organised as part of the campaign was ‘players for nation: Open space for players’
Organisers said the event aimed to highlight the importance of open spaces. Bijay Shrestha, coordinator of Occupy Tundikhel campaign, said, “Today’s event has given the message that the public should be given unrestricted access to open areas such as Tundikhle where locals youths can develop their athletic and sportsmanship skills.” Shrestha also said open spaces were very important for city denizens, including elderly citisens, as it would provide space for physical fitness and fresh air to breathe. The
Locals who used to gather at Tundikhel to play cricket and football also participated in today’s programme. According to historians, before 1950, Tundikhel covered the area ranging form Dasharath Stadium in the south to Rani Pokhari in the north. The area, which has been occupied by Nepali Army’s headquarters at present from Shahidgate in the north to Dasharath Stadium in the South was a part of Tundikhel until 1967, according to Bhimsen Das Pradhan, a lawmaker.
At present, the area of Tundikhel has shrunk to the Nepali Army’s Pavilion adjoining Khula Manch, which is not open for the public. Similarly, Khula Manch is also not open for the general public anymore. More than two-thirds of the area is occupied by construction materials meant for different construction projects. The remaining area is used as bus park, leaving no space for the public.
A version of this article appears in print on December 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.