Some are already following the example of Narayan Chaur. The Vijay Park in Dhumbarahi is an initiative of The Vaidya Organisation which has transformed another garbage dump along the Dhobi Khola into a park. Along the Bagmati River numerous organisations have come together to turn the filthy banks into parks.
Narendra B Shrestha agrees that the park would not have been possible without the Naxal-Narayan Chaur community and the community police being involved, and his initiative which brought together the entire community, proves that change is possible if there is will. “The government was not involved, it was the people coming together to restore the space, and to manage its maintenance,” he adds.
Work on the restoration began in 2012 and took in factors like selection of tree species and disaster management preparedness, while ensuring that the drug pushers did not return.
Architect Prabal Thapa was enlisted to design the park, and corporate figures like tourism entrepreneur Yogi Shakya chipped in with seed money. By 2013, the master plan was complete and presented to the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), and the park was opened to the public a few months before the earthquake in April 2015.
Fully equipped to cope with the disaster with safety boxes, six water recharge wells and solar lights, Narayan Chaur provided refuge for hundreds of people after the earthquake.