New tower leaves shopowners at Old Bus Park in limbo

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

May 10, 2016-

With the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Office giving an ultimatum to empty all shutters that lie in the eastern and northern parts of the Old Bus Park to make way for the construction of a 12-storey view tower by Sunday, over five dozen small business owners in the area fear for their future.

While the bus park has been shifted to Khula Manch, these people have no idea on what to do next in terms of their business.

Seventy-two-year-old Nima Sherpa, an owner of a small eatery at the bus park where she had been running her business for the last 35 years, was staring at the old chairs, table, fridges and other materials being removed from her eatery. “For now, all these furniture and utensils will stay in my rented room in Chabahel. But I do not know what I will do for my livelihood,” she said.

The decision of the metropolitan office has left over 500 people operating their business in the area in quandry.    

“Since the government has decided to remove us from the area, we are jobless,” said Ishwori Karki, 35, who along with her husband have run a hotel in the area for a decade. The hotel was the sole source of income for her five-member family.

However, officials at the metropolitan office and those involved in the construction of the tower said that hundreds of people will be getting job opportunities once the tower comes into operation.

According to Manoj Bhetwal, manager of Jaleshwor Swachhanda Bkoi Builders, partners in the construction of the new tower, priority will be given to the old shop owners. “We have already given our words to them. But they may  have to pay over 20 percent extra on their current rent amount if they want to run their businesses,” said Bhetwal.  There has not been any written agreement between the builders and the shop owners over it. But old business owners are skeptical of being given a chance to run businesses at the new tower. 

“Only those who have money and power will get to run their business from the building, while poor ones like us will be left behind,” lamented Karki.

The old business owners, to that end, have urged the metropolis to provide them alternative job opportunities for at least the next three years. “We have to take care of our family. The city has become an expensive place to live. How can we wait for three years to start our business again?” said Karki, 

a mother of three school-going children.

Published: 10-05-2016 08:13

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