KATHMANDU, Nov 16: Expressing concern over shrinking public space due to growing encroachment of public lands in Kathmandu, people in Kathmandu have joined the demonstration held on Saturday in the continuation of the public campaign named ‘Occupy Tundhikhel’.
The much-hyped campaign was launched on last Saturday to exert pressure on the government to free up the encroached space of Tundhikhel located at the heart of the capital.
In a bid to extend the message of ‘Love the nature’, tree plantation was done on Saturday as a part of the campaign.
Earlier on last Saturday, the participants formed a human-chain from all sides of Khulla Manch to draw the attention of the government regarding the encroachment of public lands including the Khula Manch in Kathmandu Valley.
Various political leaders, literary figures, politicians, businessmen and civil society members participated in the campaign. According to the coordinator of ‘Occupy Tundhikhel’ campaign, Bijaya Shrestha, the plantation was held to spread a symbolic message of caring the nature since various cities including Kathmandu valley have been witnessing massive deforestation in the recent times.
Ganapati Lal Shrestha, another member of the campaign informed that the elected representatives will be invited and administered the oath at the planted tree in the coming days.
Tudikhel, that originally spanned from Ranipokhari to Dasharath Stadium, holds historic importance for the people of Nepal. There were times when this public park in the heart of the valley expanded from Rani Pokhari to the Dasharath Stadium. But as a result of sheer negligence by the authorities concerned, this park is now barely half of its initial size, with a major portion occupied by the Nepal Army. Only half of its original space is still called 'Tundikhel' and other portions are used for various other purposes.
While half of the Khulla Manch area (also a part of Tundikhel in the past) has been blacktopped and being used as a public bus park for the past few years, the remaining space is covered by piles of construction materials meant for the construction of Darahara and Durbar High School. According to a study on land encroachment submitted by the “High-Level Commission on Government and Public Land Probe and Conservation” in 1995, some 9.81 per cent of the total public space in the then Kathmandu Metropolitan City was found encroached upon.