On May 31, the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, Bhaktapur district administration office and Kathmandu Metropolitan City, together with the security personnel, demolished around 67 houses that stood on the banks of the Manohara river in the Kathmandu Valley to make way for the Manohara Land Pooling Project. But the residents, whose houses were ruthlessly brought down, have become homeless. The victims say that they were not informed about the plan and now suspect some vested interests have a hand in the entire evacuation plan.
It is inhumane to drive people out of their homes. But the main issue is one of legality. The government officials say the demolition was carried out as the houses were built illegally on public land. But the buildings were erected on guthi land with the permission of the Guthi Corporation. If the argument is that no one can encroach on public land, then these people should have been stopped much earlier. Moreover, the residents say they have legal proof to show that the Guthi Corporation let them build the houses. The authorities, therefore, must not act on their whims, especially when it concerns sensitive issue like ordinary people’s shelter. Meanwhile, since a number of people have been rendered homeless, it is the duty of the administration to provide adequate compensation to help them rehabilitate themselves.