Move to set up quarantine in Tribhuvan Park opposed

Kathmandu, April 18

With the rise in the number of people travelling to their villages from Kathmandu valley due to the lockdown, two lawmakers from Thankot area have taken initiative to turn the famous Kathmanduties’ picnic spot Tribhuvan Park into a temporary quarantine.

The local government in the area, however, has not approved the random act, saying the place could be hot-spot of COVID-19, since it lacked basic facilities.

More than 300 persons have taken shelter in Tribhuvan Park for the last 20 odd days. Every day the number is increasing.

But unlike in standard quarantine facilities, these people stay together in groups. Federal lawmaker Aanjana Bisankhe and provincial lawmaker Rama Aale Magar from the area took the initiative to turn the park into a quarantine facility.

Lawmaker Bisankhe said she took the initiative out of humanitarian concern for those who were there in the course of their journey from far-fetched areas to return to their villages, without food and resources. “We first allowed them to stay in the park for one or two nights before they continued their journey, but since the government tightened the lockdown, many families have decided to stay here,” she informed. She also said she was ready to support them until the lockdown was lifted or until arrangements were made to transport them to their villages.

Locals in the area, however, have started complaining about the temporary quarantine saying it did not fulfil basic safety measures.

Ghanashyam Giri, mayor of Chandragiri Municipality, said, “We are concerned about the place and think it might become a COVID-19 hot-spot inside the valley.”

According to Giri, no doctors or health workers are available there and people were living in groups and were often found roaming outside the park.

Lawmaker Bisankhe said the place would remain safe and would cause no harm to the public. She further said they were seeking support from the government to transport those people safely to their villages. “But we have not received any solid promises either from the federal or provincial government in the matter,” she said.

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an interim order asking the government to safely transport stranded people to their hometowns after conducting rapid tests on them. Daily wage earners and the poor have been walking for days to reach their homes after the nationwide lockdown was extended.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.