Resettle Squatters


The Bagmati, Bishnumati and Hanumante are the main rivers in the Kathmandu Valley. The country's rich and vibrant cities -- Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur – have flourished on the banks of these rivers, giving a birth to Bagmati Civilisation in the ancient time. 

With civilisation, affluent society comes into existence. However, the river banks are also settled by landless squatters owing to the structural inequality in the society. Squatters' settlements expose abject poverty, shortage of amenities and unhygienic environment. But there is also a tendency to occupy the state's land by fake homeless people who use it for commercial benefit. 

It is the responsibility of the local government to relocate the squatters in safe location so that the state's land is used for public welfare and rivers are clean. The constitution obliges the government to work for the wellbeing of such citizens as well. The government has constructed apartments at Sitapaila of Kathmandu, but the squatters refused to shift there saying that the facilities were not appropriate for them as they were far away from the city centre. 

The river banks are neither clean nor hygienic to live in owing to the settlement of homeless people. The squatters have every right to live in a healthy environment with dignity, because they are equally protected by the law of the land. It is a matter of satisfaction that with the advent of the federal system of governance, the local levels are becoming more responsible to their citizens. 

The sacred Bagmati River flows through two vibrant cities -- Kathmandu and Lalitpur.  The country, with much deliberation, built a UN Park on the bank of the Batmati River covering the area from Shankhamul to the Maternity Hospital at Thapathali. Construction works are on, but the squatters have been occupying the area for long. Their settlement is a stain on the beauty of cities. 

As a security team of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City visited the squatters to demolish the squatters’ settlement recently, the squatters attacked the security forces with homemade weapons. Their violent action shows that they are either politically guided or they are retaliated the security forces for self-defence.

The local authorities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur should work together responsibly, so that, the squatters are relocated to the specified site peacefully and by taking them into confidence.

If the squatters are divided on political lines and protected by certain political parties, then the issue becomes complicated. In this case, the political parties must understand that their act of politicisaiton is directly contrary to development and stability of the country. 

If the political parties are faithful to their commitments made during the elections, they must work together to erase the scare on the human civilisation, because homelessness, abject poverty are bane of the society. 

The squatters should also work hard to overcome the vicious circle of poverty. If anyone feels proud of being a squatter, s/he lacks the most basic characteristic as a human. If a person is not morally upright, s/he is the stain on the civilisation. If the political parties promote squatters, it is their parochial approach. If the political parties promote and protect squatters to use them as a vote bank, they are also equally immoral.  

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