Call for measures to address urban poverty

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 20:

A National Planning Commission member today said that the number of poor people has increased in Kathmandu due to increasing urban population and that conflict might not have played an important role in the growth of the urban poor.

Addressing a programme on “Urban poor and the impact of conflict” here today, Hari Krishna Upadhyaya said urban poverty grew along with population growth.

The programme was organised by the Forum for Human Rights and Democracy with support from the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

“So far as the impact of conflict in the capital is concerned, a recent study has shown that it has made little impact here, as not all who have migrated to the capital in the recent years were forcefully evicted. Conflict alone cannot be blamed for migration of the people to the capital,” Upadhyaya said.

Earlier, presenting a paper on “Urbanisation, poverty and conflict”, Dr Keshav Khadka

said the number of people migrating to the cities due to conflict is decisive.

According to a data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, urban population of Nepal was 1,695,719 in 1991 that grew to 3,303,500 in 2001.

“Urban poverty has become a threatening social, economic, political and cultural problem. It has become late to accept it as part of urbanisation and formulate a concrete plan of action for eliminating urban poverty.”

Dr Mohan Man Saiju, vice-chairman of the Poverty Alleviation Fund, said poverty in urban areas deserves attention though Nepal’s poverty in general is concentrated in the rural areas.

“Liberalisation and globalisation have played an important role in the cities and the urban poor will have to face adverse effect,” he said.

Economist Dr Bishwambhar Pyakurel said urban poverty was growing at an alarming rate in Nepal though the problem is less striking compared to the general poverty scenario.

“Increasing population has degraded urban life,” he said.

Economist Dr Tika Pokhrel suggested authorities to judge poverty in the Nepalese context.