Kathmandu mayor dismisses “Occupy Tundikhel” as a publicity stunt of some politically motivated peopleConservationists describe Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shaky's remarks as childish and irresponsible.
Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya, who has come under severe criticism for failing to deliver on his promises, on Friday, hit out at the ongoing ‘Occupy Tundikhel’ campaigners, saying their campaign is nothing but a publicity stunt.
“It’s just a stunt to show their presence on the social media,” Shakya told a press conference at Yellow Pagoda Hotel in Kantipath.
The press meet was organised to announce the plans and programme for the 25th anniversary of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City to be held on December 14 and December 15.
“This campaign is the handiwork of some politically-motivated people,” said Shakya, dismissively.
This isn’t the first time Shakya has lashed out against the campaign.
Heritage conservationists have objected to Shakya’s remarks, describing them as childish and irresponsible.
“This is a very irresponsible remark from an elected mayor. We had reached out to him to take the lead in stopping the ongoing encroachment of Tundikhel. But he refused to meet us,” said Ganapati Lal Shrestha, one of the organisers of “Occupy Tundikhel.” “Now, after facing criticism from the public, he is making such irresponsible remarks.”
“Occupy Tundikhel” is a citizen-led drive launched on November 8 with mass participation of the public from different walks of life.
Since then, the campaigners have been gathering at Tundikhel every Saturday to create more pressure on the authorities to reclaim not only Tundikhel, but also other open spaces in the Kathmandu Valley, which have been encroached upon over the years.
“This is definitely a non-political campaign. We have organised a series of events under the national flag with a zero budget," said Vijay Shrestha, coordinator of the “Occupy Tundikhel” campaign.
The three-month-long programme is currently in its fifth week.
"Mayor Shakya could have taken this issue to the ministries or could have consulted with the Nepal Army to reclaim the open spaces,” said Shrestha. “But, instead, he is making such irresponsible remarks.”
Shakya has been under fire since he took office in 2017, as he failed to deliver on the promises he had made during his election campaigns.
His “101 tasks in 100 days” has been publicly ridiculed.
In recent days, Shakya has found new adversaries in the heritage conservationists who are behind the “Occupy Tundikhel” campaign.
“For those friends who are from Basantapur, I would like to request them to organise an occupy Hanuman Dhoka drive since the front part of the nine-storey palace has been occupied by construction materials,” said Shakya, sarcastically.