Caan, KMC directed to resolve land acquisitionThe Parliamentary Development Committee on Saturday directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) and Manohara Land Pooling Project to immediately resolve the issues of land acquisition and development in the disputed lands of Pepsicola-Manohara area.
The Parliamentary Development Committee on Saturday directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) and Manohara Land Pooling Project to immediately resolve the issues of land acquisition and development in the disputed lands of Pepsicola-Manohara area.
People living in the area west of Pespicola-Jadibuti road bordering the Tribhuvan International Airport had filed a complaint at the committee after Caan decided to reacquire 149 ropanis of land eight years after the owners were permitted to build houses on their plots. Likewise, started off 13 years ago the Manohara project is still far from completion leaving locals in the lurch.
A team led by committee Chairman Rabindra Adhikari, along with Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and other lawmakers, inspected the area on Saturday and collected public feedback.
Caan’s move is aimed at constructing drainage and extending airport perimeter besides preventing construction of houses on the eastern side of the airport for air safety. Having approved the decision recently, the Caan board has forwarded it to the Tourism Ministry for approval. Close to 300 settlements need to be moved if the government gives a go-ahead to the plan, according to engineer Dipendra Shrestha. He added that this would be the final acquisition of land that is necessary for the extension of airport’s runway beyond the existing perimeter.
But locals are dissatisfied with government’s modality of acquisition and the rate of compensation. The process of land acquisition in the area started in 1979 and locals had been forbidden to build houses there for more than 25 years, envisaging that more land would be required for the airport. However, the government dropped the plan through a Cabinet decision in 2007, allowing locals to build structures. Due to uncertainty over the area, the government has not built roads and water pipelines there and people are living in slum-like conditions.
Madhav Dhakal, a local, said that authorities should finalise the total area of land to be acquired once and for all and provide lump sum compensation. “It has been years since we are living like squatters,” he said. “We would not obstruct expansion of the airport as long as we are provided with fair compensation with one-time payment.”
Siding with the locals, development committee chairman Adhikari directed the respective authorities to address all of their demands. Similarly, Kathmandu Metropolitan City in 2002 acquired 1,700 ropanis of land in the Manohara corridor spread over Kathmandu and Bhaktapur districts to consolidate lands and develop residential areas in three years’ time. But it has not been completed the project yet. Although land pooling is in a final stage in the southern part of Araniko Highway, not much has been done on the north. Land owners in the area have handed in their land ownership certificates to the project and are not able build houses there.
Project chief Rabindra Kumar Poudel claimed that they had completed about 75 percent of work by opening some 13 km roads in the area. But local Bimala Poudel refuted the claim, arguing that not much work had been completed. “We have relinquished our lands for so long but officials continue delaying over pretexts of budget crunch and procedural delays,” she said.
Adhikari then directed the DAOs of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur to extend full support to the project.