City defies Supreme Court order and starts Balaju-Bypass road expansion projectFor many years, the local residents have been protesting against the government decision to expand the Balaju-Bypass road.
On Saturday, city authorities defied the Supreme Court order and started expansion works of the Balaju-Bypass road in Kathmandu.
On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the Kathmandu Metropolitan City not to start the road expansion work until the issue is resolved through discussion, as many houses would have to be demolished for the project. However, defying the court stay order, authorities on Saturday brought in a bulldozer to start work in the area.
For many years, the local residents have been protesting against the government decision to expand the Balaju-Bypass road.
Even on Wednesday morning, when the Kathmandu Metropolitan City installed bamboo and corrugated zinc sheet fences to set up an information centre, a protest erupted. The protesters said the authorities did not consult with them before starting work.
The fence was later destroyed by the protesters and members of the Valley-wide Road Expansion Victims Struggle Committee. Police arrested eight people in connection with the incident.
“The arrested are being kept at the Metropolitan Police Circle in Sorhakhutte,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Ashok Singh, also the chief of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range. “They are booked for indecent behaviour. We have permission from the District Administration Office to keep them in custody for five days.”
According to Singh, the Ministry of Urban Development and Kathmandu Metropolitan City sought help from the police to carry out their expansion work, as the budget for the information centre had already been allocated.
“We were present at the site to prevent any disruption in the expansion work,” Singh told the Post.
According to SSP Singh, the stay order has a time limit and if the protesters want to stop work again, they need to file a case in the court.
“Holding demonstrations won’t help,” he said.
Thirty-nine families have been protesting against the construction of the information centre and the road expansion project.
Even on Friday, Civil society members under the banner of Brihat Nagarik Andolan led a protest rally demanding rehabilitation of all those who have been a victim of the government’s road-widening projects.