KATHMANDU, Aug 4: Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority (KVTDA) on Saturday relocated three squatter families from Thapathali to Manohara.
The families of Minkumar Rana, Gopal Poudel and Ram Rai Danuwar, whose hutson the bank of Bagmati River were bulldozed almost three months ago, were relocated to another settlement of landless squatters on the banks of Manohara river.
“The occupants of the Manohara settlement welcomed the three new families with vermillion powder and garlands,” said Keshav Sthapit, Kathmandu Town Development Commissioner. “They have also promised to provide food for the new families as long as new arrangement are not in place.”
According to Sthapit, other squatter families, who are currently living in makeshift camps by their bulldozed huts on the Bagmati river bank, will also be moved to some other settlements in coming weeks.
The KVTDA decided to transfer squatter families evicted from the Bagmati river bank to various other squatter settlements after failing to find a new place for them.
Earlier, the government had tried to relocate the evicted squatter to Sundarighat of Lalitpur district, but was forced to backtrack on its decision following stiff resistance by the local people of Sundarighat.
However, a struggle committee formed by landless squatters against the government´s eviction drive has expressed dissatisfaction at relocation of three evicted families from the Bagmait bank to the Manohara khola without an official agreement about relief programs.
“We are ready to move to anywhere the government wants us,” said Suman Chaudhari, secretary of the struggle committee. “But, there has to be some formal agreement. We cannot move to a new place just at some one´s whimsical decision.”
Meanwhile, High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati has flayed the KVTDA for shifting the evicted families to another squatter settlement. According to Mahesh Bahadur Basnet, chairman of the committee, the KVTDA cannot relocate the evicted families to any squatter settlement along rivers as the government has already decided to clear all squatter settlements from river banks.
“The KVTDA has itself disregarded the government´s decision,” said Basnet. “We strongly condemn this act. It will obstruct our plan to develop corridors along rivers like Bagmati and Manohara in future.”
On May 8, the government had bulldozed huts of 258 squatter families who were occuplying the land illegally.