HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
POKHARA: Police bulldozed roadside stalls at different places and footpaths in Pokhara on late Saturday.
The move follows after the Pokhara Sub Metropolitan Office and police have repeatedly announced to clear the road but in vain. Yesterday‚ the District Administration Office‚ Kaski‚ has cleared the road under the local Administrative Act 1972.
Earlier‚ the local administration and municipality had agreed to jointly clear the road‚ but it came as complete surprise to the municipality staff when they noticed that the police had removed the goods from the roadside.
On Sunday morning‚ shop operators were equally staggered after they did not find their respective stalls. They were running the footpath shops in Prithivi Chowk of Pokhara‚ Chipledhunga‚ Old Bus Park‚ Mahendrapul‚ Bagar and many other places of Pokhara since many years.
Many entrepreneurs had sold the well-established shops and came to the footpath to run their shops as they did not have to pay any rent and tax. The footpath shops were making a brisk business of Rs 50‚000 to Rs 4‚ 00‚000 daily. The operators today protested as the administration and police had dismantled their shops without any prior information. They attempted to close Pokhara Bazaar‚ but could not. Police arrested 28 female and 20 male protesters as they were burning tyres and halting vehicular movement in the Lake City‚ said Inspector Rabindra Nath Paudel of the District Police Office‚ Kaski.
Police chased the agitators‚ when the latter went to gherao the municipality office. More than 300 Nepal police and Armed Police Force personnel were deployed to clear the road yesterday night at 10 PM.
Chief District Office‚ Kaski‚ Yadav Prasad Koirala said‚ “Footpath shops have been removed as pedestrians were finding it difficult to walk freely.” Earlier‚ the security was withdrawn due to some political pressure.
Pokhara Industry and Commerce Association welcomed the step taken by the administration. According to Narayan Koirala‚ general secretary of the association‚ different unions have agreed not to support the agitators.
Meanwhile‚ the Unified CPN-Maoist and CPN-Maoist cadres today protested against the step taken by the administration.