Print Edition - 2015-04-05  |  News

Locals obstruct cable car plans

- LAL PRASAD SHARMA, Pokhara

Apr 4, 2015-Demanding an alternate location for the proposed cable car, locals have staged a demonstration protesting against the construction stating that the then town development project had instead acquired the land to build Basundhara Park.

The gathering, under the coordination of Town Development Committee (TDC), Baidam, has setup a committee with the participation of various organisations working in the tourism sector. “The land should be used for the purpose for which it had been acquired and if found otherwise we will be compelled to seek legal action,” warned advocate Bhagwati Pahari, secretary of the struggle committee.

In 1982, the then town development project had acquired 303 ropanis of the ancestral land belonging to residents of Multhok in Baidam for the conservation of Phewa lake. The locals had protested after learning about the agreement reached between the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Manakamana Darshan Pvt Ltd on Tuesday for the construction of cable car from the Park site to Peace Pagoda in Pumdi Bhumdi VDC.  

“We are not against the construction of a cable car in Pokhara but we are not comfortable with the decision to construct it at the site given to the government for the conservation of the lake,” said Basu Tripathi, former member of Nepal Tourism Board.

Previously, the TDC had leased four ropanis of land for Rs 60,000 annually to one Prem Bahadur Khadka for the operation of a nursery for five years. However, the District Appellate Court, acting on the writ petition filed by the locals stating that the land acquired by the government for the conservation of Phewa lake and construction of a green belt to conserve the natural beauty should not be used for other purposes, had issued an interim order scrapping the TDC decision to lease the land.

Stating that the verdict had set a precedent, Pahari said that the authorities could not construct any kind of physical structure within the Park and that it should be developed as a greenbelt. The struggle committee has also decided to inform all the stakeholders and form a delegation to hold talks with the Ministry.

Following the agreement, Manakamana Darshan Pvt Ltd had conducted a detailed feasibility study of the area along with an engineering survey. As per the deal, the study should be completed within 60 days including a provision to extend the deadline by 30 days in case of unforeseen situation. According to executive director of the company Rajesh Babu Shrestha, they were scheduled to acquire the land within 30 days and start construction work within 6-7 months.

Partner companies including Chitwan Co-E Group and the Australian Doppelmayer Company were in the process of manufacturing the ropeway spanning 1.3 kilometres for the cable cars.   

Published: 05-04-2015 08:55

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