Sunday, 3 March, 2024

Illegal Land Grabbing

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that nobody should occupy public and government land on the pretext of being poor and landless. In fact, the government has its own plan and programme to address the grievances of the landless squatters and genuine problems are resolved in due process. If one is a Nepali citizen without a plot of land and a place to take shelter, the government should take the appropriate measure to solve his/her problem. But those who pose themselves as landless without valid basis and grab public land illegally must not be given a leeway to accomplish the mean goal. There are many instances where resourceful people with political connections have grabbed government land pretending to be landless and poor. Another brand of people have bribed the middlemen and government officials and received ownership papers of the government land. Now such violators are under government probe and those caught with ample proof of wrongdoing will not be spared. Investigating the complex procedure of making fake land papers is tedious and time consuming but the initiative should move on. The Prime Minister has expressed his commitment to it.

On Sunday, a government team led by Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal reached the encroached land site at Sahayogi Nagar of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Ward No. 31 and declared that 17 ropanis of land there is under government ownership. Hundreds of ropanis of land have been illegally transferred to individuals across the country at different times and the present government is firmly proceeding to get back the grabbed land. In order to distract and slow down the government move, some crafty land grabbers may file a case in the court but such tactics should be appropriately thwarted by rejecting the unconvincing complaints, while serving prompt decisions on others. In some places, encroachment takes place by constructing so-called community buildings which need to be relocated or demolished. Slow action lets time to pass which makes it difficult to reverse the encroachment. Taking action becomes really challenging when the wrongdoers enjoy political protection. The move of the present government deserves praise for its political will and uncompromising approach.

The Ministry of Land Management has prepared the details of illegally grabbed public land across the country and the process of returning the land to government fold is continuing. This move deserves support from all concerned quarters because no government in the past had dared to do it. The government must have faced a lot of pressure from interest groups but all the propositions for ill dealings should be thrown into the dustbin. Minister Padma Kumari Aryal has asserted that illegal transfer of government land to individuals will not be tolerated. When the government machinery is weak, political willpower is slack and national politics is unstable, fraudulent people come out of hibernation and start land grabbing. These people have now found themselves in the soup as the government is acting with all boldness and commitment.