Road office says halted expansion work to continue in whatever space is availableAfter a Supreme Court verdict in September 2017 to pay compensation before acquiring land, locals have been obstructing road expansion projects in various places in Kathmandu Valley.
The Department of Roads will continue the road expansion drive at a number of sections in the Kathmandu Valley to the extent locals allow, putting the designs prepared for the expansion aside.
A large number of road projects in the Valley are currently on hold after the Supreme Court made it mandatory for the government to pay compensation before acquiring private land for the expansion.
The court on September 18, 2017, had made it mandatory for the government to compensate landowners before acquiring land for expanding the 9km Nagdhunga-Kalanki road.
The decision’s implications were seen on other roads being expanded in the Valley, with people obstructing the expansion works demanding compensation.
“As the government has not decided to provide compensation for acquiring land, we are preparing to improve the number of roads under the expansion project to the extent the locals allow us to do so,” said Bishow Bijayalal Shrestha, spokesperson at the Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project.
Initially, in July 2018, the government had decided to expand the Nagdhunga-Kalanki road and the Chabahil-Sankhu road “in whatever space was available” without acquiring land from the public.
According to Shrestha, the Department of Roads last month decided to expand the Dholahiti-Chapagaun-Saraswatichandra road in whatever space is available.
“A recent meeting of officials at the Physical Infrastructure Ministry also concluded that Jorpati-Sundarijal road should also be expanded in a similar manner, but a formal decision has not been taken yet,” he said. “There has been consensus with the locals that the road should be expanded between 14 meters to 22 meters.”
Earlier, the Road Expansion Project had sought to expand the entire road section to 22 meters.
According to Shrestha, there has been minister-level decision to expand Imadol-Godawari-Lamatar Road to 16 meters, down from planned 22 meters. “Discussion has been ongoing to expand Manahari Sallaghari Road section in the available space only,” said Shrestha.
However, despite continued obstruction from the locals at all other expansion projects, the government has not taken the decision to collectively expand all of the roads in available space. Instead, it has been making the decision on the case by case basis.
“The reason behind taking decision one project at a time is to make effort to convince the locals for expansion of roads as per the design,” said Shrestha.
Lagankhel-Satdobato, Karmanasa-Harisiddhi-Godavari Kunda, Nakkhu Khola-Bhaisepati-Bungamati, Chakrapath-Gyanjyot and Ganesh-Biddhatmarga are other road projects that need expansion.
But, according to Shrestha, nothing has been discussed on these projects.
Since the Supreme Court order, the government’s effort to remove 120 houses in the Harisiddhi area was obstructed by the locals as they demanded compensation for both land and houses. Likewise, the locals also protested expansion work along the Lagankhel-Satdobato road, demanding compensation for both land and houses.