Nepal | May 30, 2020

Relocation of squatters in Valley in limbo

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 26

Work on relocating squatters who have been encroaching on river banks in Kathmandu Valley for the last 43 years have completely stopped with the change of government in August 3 this year.

According to High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation, work on relocating squatters have completely stopped since the change of government.

“The new government has decided to let the squatters be and do nothing regarding the issue,” a source informed The Himalayan Times requesting anonymity, “So no progress has been made in this regard.”

Although large swathes of land along the river banks in Kathmandu Valley are encroached upon by squatters for the last 43 years, the government has yet to solve the issue permanently.  In 2012, the government attempted to clear all kinds of encroachment and illegal settlements on river banks, but the squatters attacked government officials and refused to leave their illegally built houses. The government has made no attempts to relocate them since.

According to the HPCIDBC, the squatters want to be settled on the same place instead of being moved to another location.

The government had decided to temporarily relocate the squatters to Chobhar before settling them permanently in Ichangunarayan. However, squatters living in Thapathali tore the government document and attacked officials.

Four years since the incident, the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction has constructed three buildings for squatters. But the squatters are not ready to move permanently into the buildings.

“We cannot allow the government to treat us like animals. We know that the government is going to cram thousands of squatters in the buildings, which is too far away from the city,” Hukum Bahadur Lama, president of Nepal Landless Democratic Union Party told THT, “The government should relocate us to areas not too far away from where we are living.”

According to the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, three buildings have already been constructed while construction of other three buildings for squatters is under way in Ichangunaran.

Although the Nepal Landless Democratic Union Party claims that there are 29,000 squatters in Kathmandu Valley, but only 1,082 families were registered as squatters in 2012. There are 73 squatter settlements in Kathmandu, and three each in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. However, squatters settled on the banks of the Bagmati River in Thapathali only 10 years ago.

 


A version of this article appears in print on November 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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