Nearly after 30 years, the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee (KVTDC) is upgrading the land use map of the valley with the intent to control haphazard urbanisation. The new map would evaluate the changes in land use that have taken place since 1976, the year when Kathmandu Valley Land Use Plan was first enforced, and incorporate the changes in accordance with the Land Use Plan 2020. For this, the KVTDC along with five municipalities have to raise Rs 2.5 million to cover the core areas, whereas a sum of Rs 10 million is ostensibly required for the review of the entire valley. Even if it incorporates only the core areas of the valley, enforcement of the laws would go a long way towards regulating and controlling land abuse.
Such a step on the part of the agency concerned was long overdue since the capital is fast turning into a major slum valley, thanks to rapid and unchecked urbanisation. Official indifference, corruption and rising number of litigation cases have been mainly responsible for this state of affairs. In a sense, the KVTDC is already late in initiating the review, as the natural beauty of the valley has long been damaged due to unplanned constructions. Nevertheless, at least for the new areas coming up in the valley’s periphery, being developed especially for the migrant population, a systematic plan with long-lasting infrastructure should be designed. Such a plan would not only make the city look cleaner and beautiful, but would also help in saving valuable resources. In turn, a good system can have multiple effects on the development process of the country, helping greatly in building a sustainable society. Towards this end, it would be prudent to draw lessons from the neighbouring countries like India where the Supreme Court recently gave order for demolition of illegally constructed buildings. The state must not hesitate to take decisive actions that are in the long-term, overall interest of the society.