KATHMANDU, Oct 1: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a mandamus instructing the government to dismantle structures illegally constructed by Park Village Water Front Resort Pvt Ltd, located around Fewa Lake. A joint bench consisting of Justices Kumar Regmi and Hariprasad Phuyal passed this ruling.
The SC decision came in response to a writ petition filed by Advocate Khagendra Subedi against the federal government, Gandaki provincial government, and Karna Bahadur Shakya, the owner of Park Village Water Front Resort. The petition asserted that the resort had illegally erected structures on the shores of Fewa Lake.
Notably, this is the second time the SC has ordered the government to remove all physical structures within 65 meters from the lakeshore of Fewa Lake within a six-month timeframe. In addition to this order, the court separately instructed the demolition of structures specifically built by Park Village Water Front Resort within the restricted 65-meter zone.
The SC emphasized the importance of removing unauthorized structures to preserve the long-term cleanliness, beauty, and protection of Fewa Lake. It noted that most of the resort's structures encroach upon the 65-meter limit from the highest point of the lake and that the hotel and building permits were not in compliance with the law. Furthermore, the resort's structures were constructed on public and vacant land.
The full text of the SC verdict on Park Village Water Front Resort, dated June 19, 2023, highlighted the misuse of public property for private and commercial interests, contrary to public trust and interest. The judgment pointed out irregularities in the recommendation and approval letters issued for the resort's construction, as well as the use of public land for development.
The court ordered the removal of structures based on findings that the resort had utilized land classified as public property, which is subject to the Property Act, 2034 BS. The SC stressed the need to cancel registrations contrary to the order of transmission.
In the course of the legal proceedings, the resort claimed that the water discharged from its premises was treated and used exclusively within the hotel, with no contamination of the lake. A committee was established on May 27, 2018, to investigate this claim, and it subsequently submitted a report. The report, accompanied by a map, indicated that the resort's structures were both within and outside the 65-meter restricted area from the lake's edge. Specifically, the report noted that the resort's water purification tank, swimming bridge, bridge-side toilet, garden, parking area, main gate, and nursery were built within the prohibited zone. Additionally, two buildings were found to be constructed outside the specified standards.
The SC's decision underscores the need to adhere to the original order, issued on April 26, 2018, to remove unauthorized structures surrounding Fewa Lake. The court nullified the Pokhara Metropolitan City's decision to reduce the lakeshore area to 30 meters, emphasizing the necessity of demolishing houses, buildings, hotels, and resorts within the 65-meter boundary and designating the intermediate area as a green zone to be preserved.