Nepali Times
The Tinkune mess


It will remain that way unless someone rescues it immediately in the name of national interest.

Any one travelling from the airport to the Kathmandu city centre will have noticed the eyesore that sits smack in the middle of three busy roads that meet to form a triangle just before the Bagmati bridge. Tinkune (from the Nepali word for "triangle") could easily have been used for anything but the wild jumble of tin shacks and dilapidated trucks and buses that stand all over the place.

Why has the government not done anything to get rid of this blight? Or, for those who remember the wildly lush green at that very spot till a few years ago, why was the degradation allowed at all? But as the history of this place shows, it was precisely government action that is responsible for the mess.

Back in 1974, when the Arniko Highway to Tibet was ready and the then proposed Ring Road was going to turn this stretch into the main access road to the airport, the government decided to construct a Panchayat memorial park at Tinkune. Given its prime location, it is easy to understand why the government chose the place.

Accordingly, the land was appropriated. Those were the heydays of the autocratic Panchayat regime and the rights of the eleven individuals who had been farming there were given short shrift. And neither did they dare protest.

It rook two decades and the collapse of the Panchayat system before a government notice in June 1994 acknowledged that compensation had not been paid and that matters would now be taken care according to legal procedure.

However, as nothing of that sort happened, in May 1996, the 11 owners filed petitions at the Supreme Court, demanding annulment of the government\'s appropriation their land for public utility. They claimed that the government action was illegal since it had not followed the rules prescribed by the Land Acquisition Act. \'\'Since the government failed to complete the legal procedure to acquire the land and pay due compensations, the government decision should be annulled and ownership of the land be reverted to the previous owners." says the petition filed by Indra Kumari Gautam, one of the landowners.

The final decision of the Court has not been made public yet. However according to the spokesperson of the Court, Kashi Raj Dahal. "The full bench on 2 May 2000 found that the Tinkune land has not been registered under the government\'s ownership and the petitioners were not found to have been compensated. Therefore the decision of the Land Reforms and Management Ministry of 3 July 1995 to register the land under government ownership will be annulled. According to Dahal, the Court will issue a mandamus to the government to complete the legal procedure required for acquisition of the land. That is, if the government is still serious about a park at Tinkune. Which in fact, would be a great idea.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)