Lives and homes of squatters under threat as Bagmati continues to swell

A swollen Bagmati river almost touching the homes of squatters living along the river banks (Image: Samir Pradhan)

As Bagmati River continues to swell, the threat to the squatters homes and lives is increasing.Water level of the Bagmati River has risen alarmingly as rain continues to batter Kathmandu Valley. These settlers along the river bank are squatters and are said to be living illegally. The govt had issued eviction orders to all squatters in 2011. The squatters and NGOs supporting them moved court. The debate regarding squatter rights is ongoing.

Bagmati River is the largest drainage system of Kathmandu Valley. While sewage pipes (household water waste) along the Bagmati and other rivers is being built to remove the practice of draining household water waste into the rivers of Kathmandu Valley, like everything in Nepal, it will be a while. For now, household drainage continues to be dumped into the rivers – Dhobi Khola, Bishnumati River, Manohara River which eventually mix with Bagmati River. Thus, in practice, it can be said – all collected water (rainfall and sewage) is drained entirely by Bagmati.

Following almost 24 hours of torrential downpour, millions of lives in Kathmandu Valley is being affected. Much of Bhaktapur district remains inundated.


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