Squatters up in arms against access road plan

Razen Manandhar

Kathmandu, May 5:

The capital is suffering for want of access roads, but some 27 persons of Koreshwor are urging the government to drop its road development plan in their area. These 27 reportedly built their houses illegally on land which was reserved for an access road a decade ago.

As such, they stand to face penalty and also the prospect of the houses being demolished if they fail in their bid to avert the access road expansion.

In 1991, the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee (KVTDC), decided to expand around 300 km of road network, according to its Guided Land Development (GLD). But as the plan took time to complete, quite a few houses cropped on the road area. Koteshwor at ward 34 at Kathmandu Metropolitan City is one among them.

KVTDC sent a letter on May 1, requesting suggestions on the demand of local. The case is pending at the KMC. A local, visiting the KMC office for this matter, said, “It is not a personal matter. Houses are more important for us than roads, and so we stand for cancelling the road plan.”

The government had a plan to construct a 6-metre wide and 200-metre-long road at Koteshwor but at least 32 of the 41 plots, on which roads were to be constructed, now have buildings. Only three or four houses were constructed before the GLD was made operational.

“The squatters might have bribed the local authority, or maybe, the authority provided the permission for the buildings without consulting the cadastral map,” said Dr Bhaikaji Tiwari, chief of GLD Project at KMC.

Tiwari said the case was complicated. In 2003, squ-atters Bhaktaraj Pokh-rel and several others filed an application at KVTDC for dropping the idea of road construction in their area.