Bhaikaji Tiwari had never expected the road expansion campaign would succeed. As the chief of the Kathmandu Valley Urban Development Planning Implementation Committee, for years he did not have power to move ahead with the plan until PM Baburam Bhattarai came to his support. "Kathmandu will be different now and there is no stopping it," says Tiwari. The government proposed road expansion 35 years ago but never went ahead with the plan. "After all these years it has gained momentum and will continue until it is completed," he says. Officials say roads have often been encroached by those with political connections, which is why the road expansion plan never took off. For the first time in many years, Traffic, Urban Development, Municipality and Road Department are working in close coordination.
Dambar Krishna Shrestha in Himal Khabarpatrika, 14 January
MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
The ongoing road expansion is a welcome move to ease the chaotic traffic of Kathmandu but the way it's being enforced has created fear. As houses were bulldozed without prior notice, locals came out in protest .The government has asked the protestors to contact the concerned authority to claim compensation with evidence. The demolitions are being carried out as per the Urban Development Implementation Act 1977, but many claim their houses have been constructed as per the norms of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC). A probe commission has been formed after the owners came out in protest. Bhaikaji Tiwari of DUDBC admits only two per cent of buildings have not followed the prescribed norms. The government, which is supposed to move the peace process has made road expansion its priority. Former Minister for Physical Planning and Works, Hisila Yami, is actively involved in the road expansion campaign. Despite holding no active portfolio in the cabinet, she presides over meetings and gives instructions.