The city's infrastructure is gradually being degraded by traffic jams, bottlenecks, single lanes, conges tion and narrow roads with houses encroaching on both sides without any space for expansion. There is a lack of proper pavements for pedestrians and vendors occupy half the street.Old wine in new bottle Talk of road expansion has been going on in the valley since decades.
Now with the state coming sation forward with its categori of roads, Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee (KVTDC) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) has started demolishing roadside struc tures constructed illegally onThe encroached land.
The major issue has always been that of compensation, to which Dr Bhai Kaji Tiwari, the town “The controller at KVTDC says, expansion of roads is for the benefit of the residents of those areas and we plan the expansion for 400 km within the valley.Compensation has been granted to many in 1976-77, but due to a fire incident, many such records were lost, due to which we are re-compensating many.“
He informs that compen sation is being offered in terms of government evalu ation of the property. “We have not demolished houses made as per regulations , while others are being compensated before being demolished. The expansion in those areas will be carried out only after we assure and convince residents.“
KVTDC also informs that specific areas like Chabahil and Sinamangal are granted exception from the demolition drive, as they were densely populated even when the expansion project was initiated, making it diffi cult for the state to compen sate the huge volume.
Big plans Structures such as medical centres, petrol pumps, et cetera have also not been spared by the demolition drive. However, KVTDC states that notice period was given to vacate the encroached spaces.
Central Regional Road Directorate Devendra Karki of the Department of Roads (DoR), says, “We are backing up the demolishing process by immediate road construction, though no special budget has been allocated.
The small roads are being worked on, with the roads near Jai Nepal, Krishna Pauroti, Putali Sadak, Lainchaur and few other places nearly completed.” He adds, “But the situation will be different for the road linking Maitighar and Tinkune, as we are going for elaborate designs with the state having assured us of financial support.
Moreover, being a bigger project, it will take a little longer to complete, extending to the next financial year.“Tiwari says, “We tried to encourage people to aid us, we even helped them rebuild their walls in few places like Dhobighat and the road reconstruction process by DoR is carried out along with demolishing of the encroachments.Though this is the first time the police department and government are involved and supportive, the trend of resistance among some residents is a bit disheartening.“
According to the DoR, the smaller projects will be completed within this fiscal year, taking at most five to six months, whereas bigger projects will take longer, considering their design and execution. The campaign to clear road encroachment has been backed by the Supreme Court (SC) too. SC issued a verdict in favour of road expansion when land owners filed a writ against clearing encroachment of structures between Maitighar and New Baneshwor.
Despite resistance and confusion, road expansion seems inevitable. The mission to save the city from looking like a slum will be fruitful only if demolished areas are properly managed, roads pitched and further encroachments seriously barred in future.
source: Koirala, Sneha(2012),"Road expansion — will it give Kathmandu a facelift?", The Himalayan Times,21 jan 2012
Tiwari is a liar. They have been bulldozing people's homes using police force. These houses were built after obtaining building permits. The road widening campaign is a pretext to subdue Newars in retaliation for demanding statehood.