Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Changing Kathmandu, Nagarik

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

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.

1. Kanchhakaji.
"Hisila Yami ,is actively invovled in the road expansion."
 The First and Foremost Lady 0f the New Republic  must be congratulated,.
 She is like our Lady Bird ...beautifying Kathmandu.She deserves a place in the Sahid Gate at the top replacing Trivuban .
Beause she once studied Architecture.
 Long live the High- way- woman ( not highwayman)of the New Republic .

2. Arun
This is a complete farce.

"The government proposed road expansion 35 years ago but never went ahead with the plan." The country's population, especially the capital has greatly increased since then. As the article mentions the current governments plans are based 35 years ago which didn't transpire. Alot of homes have been legally built since that time, with local planning and government approval. As the article mentions, "Bhaikaji Tiwari of DUDBC admits only two per cent of buildings have not followed the prescribed norms." If this is the case then it would be illegal to demolish or occupy peoples property and acquire their land without their consent.

If the government are so kean and eager to widen roads in the centre of the capital, then it should appropriately compensate the people who are about to lose their property and homes. In modern civil democratic nations, the amount in compensation for loss of property is almost 1.5 times of its present current market price due to emotional and financial losses which would be incurred.

Alot of these buildings have historic signifinace, unique style of architure and has been homes to generations of families since the so called plan in 1977.  Most governments in the world would most probably try to preserve it's historical buildings rather than knocking them down. A more wiser solution would be to develop the city around the ring road to decongest the centre and create a one way route driving system.

If the government wishes to continue this demolishment without the legal owners consent then it should be prepared for heavy losses financially in regard to legal procedings for compensation.  A warning to the government it may seem a cheap way to get votes at the moment but in the long term, which you seem so conveniently blind to recognise, the financial repercussions through legal procedings and compensation would only have the peoples wrath directed towards your actions.

Finally .. If you plan to bulldoze homes for your road widening project then compensate those legal owners with more than adequate level of compensation or face the consequences. No one likes bullies at the end of the day.

3. JPT
Like it or not, bullies are here to stay in Nepal. That's the only thing that works. I am glad BRB is governing with a hammerfist or else it would have never become successful. Compensations will follow. But it would have never succeeded if they had waited for public consent. Good thing, politics did not have any chance to interfere.

4. Arun
Last comment is a classic example why some parts of Nepali society still remains uncivilised and not democratic. If so called educated Nepalis like this person in comment #3,  have the belief that the force of might is greater than that of a citizens basic right to contest a decision legally about stopping the destruction of their homes without warning, a compensation plan, their views and consent sought.

5. kathmandu
Very agreed Arun.the last comment number 3 needs some socially responsible thought to be injected..... I only wonder the so called maoists are luring the Kathmandu people of the road expansion at the huge social and economic costs which can be used to build the infrastructure where needed.Why the hell they are interested in kathmandu alone? they could have invested in big sajha buses like in 1970s than those small tempos running all zigzag in the is a the name of road expansion......when the country is already in a dire state....what about rural developement? if rural areas are developed , kathmandu will be less crowded..or make gorkha the capital of nepal......Leave my kathmandu as the world heritage......what has these people ever built except demolition........sad sad sad....

6. nik

Infra structure badly needed in ktm.

This probably is the only way out.If it did not happen for 30 years, there is noway it would have happened without force.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)