KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 4
Kathmandu Metropolitan City has finally agreed to allow individuals and organisations to feed hungry people at Khula Manch until the Tihar festival.
KMC took the decision following severe criticism from all quarters. The local government has also offered its help to continue feeding of the destitute people or rehabilitate them if needed. A total of five organisations have been feeding meals for hundreds of needy people on a daily basis since March last week in the open space of Khula Manch.
Daily wage earners and people working in various informal sectors were left in the lurch after the government imposed nation-wide lockdown in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.
Earlier, the local government had mobilised police force to stop distribution of free meals in the area stating that feeding people in open places was against the dignity of the historic city and that life had returned to normalcy.
KMC’s act was met with severe criticism by people from different walks of life.
That forced KMC to hold meeting yesterday with the volunteers, who have been feeding the hungry.
After the meeting, KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya said, “It’s not that we don’t care about poor people. We just wanted a permanent solution to this problem.
Feeding people in the dusty bus park has been promoting begging for food. We have been working to make Kathmandu a beggar free city.”
The KMC has also offered to feed the poor at party palaces after Tihar. It has extended help to provide employment for jobless workers in informal sectors while rehabilitating sick or elderly people at elderly homes.
Ishwor Man Dangol, KMC spokesperson said many physically sound persons, capable of earning for themselves, had gathered around the open space with the hope of getting a free meal.
“After Tihar KMC will either provide jobs or rehabilitate them. Feeding people in the open must be stopped.”
Bimal Panta, coordinator of Hamro Team Nepal, one of the organizations, which has been feeding the hungry, has welcomed the offer by the local government.
“We appreciate the promise made by the mayor. Let’s hope the promise materialises after Tihar.” Hamro Team Nepal has been feeding at least 400 hungry people on a daily basis. As claimed by the organisation, it fed 1,200 every day in the first three months of the lockdown.
A version of this article appears in print on November 05, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.