Sunday, 29 January, 2023

'Garden of green vegetables' turning into concrete jungle: 30 percent farmland lost to residential area in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality

Farmers work in their field in the Sanothimi Manohara town planning area, MTM-2.

By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Jan 1: In its brief introduction, Madhyapur Thimi Municipality describes itself as a garden of green vegetables that supplies a significant chunk of vegetables to the Kathmandu Valley.

However, data show that, in the last 24 years, there has been 30 percent decrement in agricultural land in the municipality.

Of the total land area snatched from farmland, 26.7 percent has been converted into a residential area.

Residential buildings stand today in the places where green vegetables would grow, and this has necessitated to come up with a better land-use policy and strict implementation of the policy to tackle the new problems of modern urbanization.

As per the research of the Center for Research for Environment, Energy and Water - 2014, the decrement of agricultural land in Sano Thimi area was 30 percent in between 1990 to 2014.

Research report disclosed that 89 percent of decreased land has been transformed into a residential area.

Similarly, agricultural land owned by the family was 1.44 hectors in 1985 which reduced to 1.18 hectors in 1995 and then to merely 0.46 hectors in 2005.

Again, in 2014, the size of agricultural landholding reduced down to 0.20 hectors. Generally, one hector is equaled to 20 ropanis land.

The conversion of agricultural land into a residential area in Bhaktpur is attributed to the urbanization, to make living space for the increasing population, which in turn has affected the agricultural production of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality.

With the shift of core and periphery relation, now, the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality is successfully turning out to be the next modern urban area of the district.

Krishna Maya Bagmare, Sano Thimi-7, Bhaktpur, said 'Poor farmers like me are the ones who have been hit the most by the town planning prospect. I have been doing agriculture all my life that is the one skill I possess which helps me to run my life.'

However, due to town planning, my agricultural land area has been cut down. This has thwarted the production level which has severely impacted my profit level thus impacting my livelihood as well.

Bal Krishna Kalu, Nagadesh, Madhyapur Thimi-7, said, 'Even though it was hard to commute agricultural material in fields, but we were planting our crops without any disturbances. The fields were purely used for farming, however, now, there is the flow of people and increased settlement which has affected the agricultural production.'

Previously, I was compelled to sell my land as it was turning out to be less fruitful because of the increasing settlement.

Now, I am planting on other fields, however, this area is also under town planning, he said.

Saying that he fears for a similar situation to happen again, he added that he does not have any alternative solution.

Raj Kumar Bade, Nagadesh, Madyapur Thimi-7 said, that there was an increasing trend of converting agricultural land into residential areas because of rising profit.

But, this will endanger the continuation of agricultural production as well, he added.

Furthermore, Sita Basnet, a permanent resident of Dang, who is a plantation worker, said that her previous owner sold the land and she was rendered jobless for the time being.

Sita said that she would now involve in construction work as no fields were left for the agricultural prospect

.(Mahima Devkota is an intern with the TRN Online)