Government has proposed new open public spaces in Kathmandu valley as shelters during natural disasters. Along with the previously identified 83 open areas, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDT) has identified 488 new areas in Kathmandu, 343 in Lalitpur and 53 in Bhaktapur district.
Before the quake, there were only 83 open spaces in Kathmandu. On the recommendation by the Prime Minister’s Office, the new recommendations have been mentioned in Nepal Gazette. The need for open public areas was felt after the existing spaces were felt insufficient to shelter hundreds and thousands of people during the recent earthquakes.
The government had handed over the responsibility of finding new open spaces to KVDT following the earthquake. The new open spaces cover both private and public areas including forest areas on the outskirts of the valley.
“Kathmandu valley has always lived amid natural disasters. The lack of open spaces was acutely felt during the recent quake,” Shantraj Subedi secretary at the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) said while unveiling the list amid a special program held at the PMO on Wednesday. “We need open spaces where people can take shelter during disaster. It is essential for public safety and shelter,” Subedi added.
On the occasion, Subedi emphasized the need of awareness among the public and their support in conserving and developing open public areas. “It’s not only the government’s responsibility but of the locals and their communities, as well, of identifying and managing these public spaces.
Development Commissioner at KVDT, Yogeshwar Parajuli said the proposed areas will be finalized in at least two years. “There can be many other areas that could be used as open areas for shelter. Other concerned authorities will have to ratify the proposed areas,” said Parajuli.
The proposed areas were identified by KVDT in coordination with the Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Urban Development and Home Ministry.