One point for the little guys! Public pressure and protests led the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality to reverse its decision on granting forest land to the Armed Police Force. When the local community forestry group learnt the forest they stewarded was being granted to the police force they decided not to accept it.
In the absence of elected representatives, the municipality made its decision on the basis of direct instruction from Bhaktapur District Administration Office without consulting the locals, the political parties and civil society. Even the ward office and forestry users group were left in the dark. While this clearly demonstrates bureaucratic abuse of authority, it also illustrates that real people power is far from defunct.
Not that victory came easily. For two consecutive days the people sat in protest and gheraoed the municipality office. The chief of the municipality office, Pashupati Pokharel, had to publicly apologise to calm the crowd down. A delegation, led by local political activists, visited the chief district officer Geha Nath Bhandari and handed over a memorandum that warned they would be keeping an eye on the future misuse of public property.