Let’s protect open spaces: NEFEJ

Kathmandu– Nepal Forum of Environment Journalists (NEFEJ) has drawn its serious attention over the encroachment of Khullamunch area, in the heart of Capital, under various pretexts and the actions and reactions generated by it.

“NEFEJ is also seriously concerned over the encroachment and exploitation of public lands around Kathmandu Valley including the building of a resort in Chandragiri, which is considered important for the valley’s biodiversity,” said a statement issued by NEFEJ President Kosmos Biswokarma.

Read the full text of press statement:

Nepal Forum of Environment Journalists (NEFEF) has drawn its serious attention over the encroachment of Khullamunch area, in the heart of Capital, under various pretexts and the actions and reactions generated by it. NEFEJ is also seriously concerned over the encroachment and exploitation of public lands around Kathmandu Valley including the building of a resort in Chandragiri, which is considered important for the valley’s biodiversity.

Open spaces are essential components for enhancing the beauty of any city. We have already learnt from the earthquake of 2015 that the urbanization of cities needs to be earthquake-resilient. The open spaces like Khullamunch, in the midst of a dense settlement, provided shelter after the disaster wreaked havoc, and they will be equally crucial for the future. However, we can never accept the activities such as building stalls at Khullamunch and renting them out for business. The forum in the past had raised its voice against the Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s plan to build multi-story building at old Bus Park area as it would put the future of Kathmandu denizens at peril. The move to build multi-story building for business by turning a deaf ear to the civil society is condemnable. The encroachment of Khullamunch is the continuation of such defiant move. Though the shutters have been demolished under pressure from several quarters, various places of Khullamunch are still being used for commercial purpose.

Thus, NEFEJ calls on the government, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the other stakeholders to immediately remove the bus park and all the structures built in Khullaunch, and revert it back to the public open space once it was for gathering and strolling. This place was open even during the autocratic Panchyat regime. It is gross irresponsibility on the part of authority to try to capture this place with business motives in today’s open society.

It is unfortunate that state bodies like local government and army are on the lookout for such open spaces to build infrastructures instead of conserving them.

We also draw the government’s attention towards the construction of commercial structures against the Environmental Impact Assessment in Chandragiri, among other places, and to act to ensure open spaces for future generation. NEFEJ also appeals to the media, civil society and informed citizens to continuously raise voice against the exploitation of ecology and public places.

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