When Baburam Bhattarai came to power last August, he promised to give the chocked roads of the Valley a major face-lift. A year later, streets around Kathmandu have been dug up, houses built illegally along roads have been demolished and all that remains are heaps of bricks and rubble. Sidewalks have vanished, bulldozers are lined up along major thoroughfares and the city has turned into a dust bowl.
Although locals of Maharajgunj, Baluwatar, Lazimpat, Kamalpokhari and Tahachal have been vocal in their protest against the government’s forceful demolition drive, it hasn’t stopped the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee from completely tearing down 100 houses and partially bulldozing a further 425 houses. More than Rs 30 million has already been spent on the demolition program and the Department of Roads’ purse is expected to be lighter by Rs 450 million by the time the new roads are completed.
Roads in Birganj, Pokhara and Biratnagar are also undergoing renovations. Bhattarai has promised to give Nepalis bigger, broader and better roads by Dasain. Let’s wait and watch.
ALL PICS: CLIFF THREADGOLD