River banks to be cleared of all kinds of encroachment

Kathmandu, August 16

The High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of Bagmati Civilisation today said it will  get rid of persons, families and organisations from Bagmati river banks by next week.

In June, Himalayan Institute of Science and Technology Engineering College (Sinamangal) and Glacier International College, VS Niketan, Pentagon College, some monasteries, private institutions and households were given 35 days to vacate the public place and stop encroachment on the river banks.

Among them, VS Niketan at Minbhawan, Pentagon College and some monasteries have already vacated the river banks, but HIST and GIC, including other private institutions are yet to abide by the order.

Some buildings still stand and are operating within 20 metres from either bank of the river.

Bharat Prasad Acharya, sociologist at HPCIDBC, said talks are being held with Bagmati Manohara Sarokar Samiti, a local agency that is engaged in uplifting the condition of the Bagmati River. HPCIDBC will also coordinate with police, army, political cadres and local activists to pile pressure on the institutions to clear away from the land that falls 20 metres within either side of the Bagmati.

Acharya stressed that officials of Manmohan Park at Balkhu should assist in removing illegal settlements on the river banks constructed by squatters, vendors and locals. He said, “The government has prohibited construction of any structure within 20 metres on the either side of the bank of the Bagmati River, but illegally built structures have been dotting the area.”

According to an HPCIDBC survey, more than 4,000 illegal structures stand along the river banks between Gokarna and Chobhar. More than 150 ropani land along either side within 20 metres of the river banks are still dotted with illegal settlements, but HPCIDBC has so far managed to claim only 40 ropani land.

Rabindra Ray, an engineer at HPCIDBC, said squatters and vendors were less likely to vacate or pull down their settlements unless the government gave them an alternative location.

“The houses, walls, shops and sheds constructed within 20 metres have been marked red for demolition. The occupiers have been asked to vacate before their illegal structures are demolished by the authorities,” Ray informed.