US, Russian ‘conquest’ inconveniences public

Kathmandu, September 29:

The American Embassy in Panipokhari and the Russian Embassy in Baluwaltar have been encroaching on the footpaths lying outside their premises. As a result, pedestrians have been compelled to either walk along the roads or cross them and walk on another lane. While the American Embassy has encroached upon about 15 metres of footpath along the Lazimpat-Maharajgunj road section, the Russian embassy has encroached upon about 30-metre footpath stretch along the Baluwatar-Maharajgunj road. “As the embassy has encroached on our footpath, we have been compelled to walk on the main road, risking accidents,” said Satish Manadhar of Maharajgunj.

Barriers have been erected at the construction site of the American Club opposite the Education Ministry in Kantipath, forcing the pedestrians to walk along the road. “The Department of Roads (DoR) has given permission to the American Club to use the footpath at Kantipath,” he said, adding: “But, to the best of my knowledge, the embassies have not made agreements with the DoR which enable them to use the footpaths lying outside their premises,” Pant said. Sanjay Raj Upadhaya, an engineer at the Public Works Department, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, said: “The DoR, the responsible authority, has not directed the KMC to let the embassies use the footpaths.”

However, the acts of encroachment do not end here. A ‘no-pedestrian movement’ board has been placed near the construction site of a building near the Narayan Gopal Chowk, forcing people to walk on the road. “We have been looking at the board for weeks,” said Bibek Devkota, a college student, adding: “We have been robbed of our right to walk on the footpath.”