Nepal govt evacuates hundreds of squatters
Kathmandu: The Nepalese government Tuesday ordered the evacuation of hundreds of squatters from the Bagmati riverside of capital Kathmandu.
More than 500 police personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Metropolitan Police were deployed for the task of the evacuation with more than five bulldozers which were seen crushing down the illegally-made blocks and houses on the banks of the river.
Talking to Xinhua Tuesday, police officer Bishnu Joshi said this was the eighth time that the government has evacuated the area.
"But every time we vacate the settlement, they come here again," Joshi said.
He added that the squatters were time after time informed, called for talks and even to register the name of genuine squatters for government compensation but not many came for it.
"The government had decided to provide (Nepali) Rs.15,000 ($180) as compensation but only 67 people came for it," he added.
He also informed that all the squatters' settlements will be evacuated in the upcoming days.
Squatters were blaming the police officials of barging in and kicking them out of the homes, however police refuted the accusation.
Many were seen crying, collecting their clothes and small pack of their property.
Sabitri Rai, 58, told Xinhua that she had been living in the area for nine years and this day reminded her of tragedy she faced when her house was swept away by a flood in Manthale, some 85 km from the capital.
"Now, I have no where to go, last time it was natural disaster but now it is done deliberately by humans," she said with tears in her eyes and a small cigarette in her fingers.
She added that they should be given proper settlement area to live otherwise they will have no choice of killing themselves.
The area evacuated on Tuesday possess some 251 houses and tin roof blocks and police estimates there are more than 1,200 squatters residing in the area.
The squatters had began settling in the capital's river banks since 1990s.
"We here lived in the world of our own, we had a place to hide our head, a small farm to grow corn and a river for the water source," Rammaya K.C told Xinhua, adding that the world of them is now scattered and it is hard to leave the area which they are emotionally attached to.
According to the government, there are more than 10,000 squatters, mostly living along Kathmandu's rivers, occupying some 75 hectares of land in total.
The government has already decided to evacuate the rest of the squatter settlements in the days to come.