Pokhara people hail Supreme Court order on Lake Fewa

  • Supreme Court says implement recommendations of Lamichhane Commission report
Civil society leader Ram Bahadur Paudel says Supreme Court has sent a strong message that no one should encroach upon natural heritage

Nov 24, 2018-

Pokhara residents on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s order on Thursday directing the government to acquire all encroached land of Lake Fewa within a year.

The top court also ordered to implement the recommendations listed by the Lamichhane Commission in its report.

Former chair of City Development Committee Bishwa Prakash Lamichhane heads the Commission on Lake Fewa issues.

The court ordered the government to acquire the encroached land and take action against the encroachers.

Civil society leader Ram Bahadur Paudel said the Supreme Court order has sent a strong message to all that no one should encroach upon natural heritage. “Pokhara Metropolitan City Office should immediately implement the court’s order,” said Paudel. 

The top court also has ordered the government to take initiatives to include Lake Fewa in the list of World Heritage Sites and implement the report of the Lamichhane Commission. The Commission’s report of May 2012 mentions that 86 hectares of the land around Lake Fewa was illegally converted to personal property. It recommended the government to terminate their ownerships. However, the report recommendations were not implemented. 

Former member of tourism board Tikaram Sapkota said the construction of physical infrastructure on the bank of Lake Fewa would stop because of the court order. “The Court has opened doors for people’s representatives to work easily,” said Sapkota.

Lake Fewa is a major tourist attraction in Pokhara. Over the years, its size has shrunk significantly. Several resorts and eateries have mushroomed along the lakefront despite the ban restricting construction within 65 metres from the lake’s edge. Tourism expert Shreekant Khatiwada said the concerned authority should diligently investigate and implement the top court’s decision. Eight months ago, the apex court had set down the lake’s area at 2,874 ropanis (6.5 sq km approx) and instructed the authorities concerned to remove all structures built within the Lake Fewa’s area. 

According to a report, prepared two years ago by the Lake Fewa Lake Conservation and Management Office, there are 204 illegal structures on the lake’s property. The Lamichhane Commission report 

lists the names of over 1,000 individuals who had acquired properties within the lake’s immediate surroundings. These landowners also include businesspersons and government officials.       

Lake Fewa shrinks every year mainly due to the silt deposited by around 50 rivulets that feed it, geologists say. Back in 1957, the lake covered an area of around 10 sq kms. The measurement in 2007 showed that its area had shrunk to 4 sq kms.  

Published: 24-11-2018 07:34

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