Squatter settlements pose hurdle to Bagmati beautification campaign

Kathmandu, April 22

The High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation has begun constructing parks along both sides of the Bagmati River, but the project has decelerated because of its inability to relocate squatter settlements along the river banks.

The HPCIDBC said it began constructing a park along the Gokarna to Sinamangal bridge stretch three months ago, but has not been able to begin construction at other locations.

Project Manager of the HPCIDBC Rajesh Prasad Singh said the only problem the committee faced at the moment was not having access at all times because of squatter settlements.

“We intend to construct parks along both sides of the river from Gokarna to Katuwaldaha, which is a 27 km stretch. However, squatter settlements at various locations have been a problem,” Singh told The Himalayan Times, “We have only been able to start work along Gokarna-Sinamangal stretch, which is around 7.2 km long.”

According to the Nepal Landless Democratic Union Party, there are more than 29,000 landless people in Kathmandu Valley living in 73 different squatter settlements. A few hundred people have been occupying public land in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur for more than four decades.

Kathmandu Valley’s river banks have been encroached by squatters for the last 43 years, but the government has failed to permanently resettle them so far. The government made an attempt to clear squatter settlements along river banks in 2012, but the squatters had attacked government officials and thwarted their attempt.