Squatters, who received plots to build houses, are deprived of land titlesAround 500 landless squatters had received space to build in Salyan district.
Thirty-eight years ago, Sandesh Nepali, a native of Bhotechaur in Salyan’s Chhatredeurali Rural Municipality, received a seven-metre plot from the Landless Squatters’ Problems Resolution Commission to build a house.
Nepali built a house and has been living there for 25 years but he still lacks the land ownership certificate.
The situation of Bhuwan Badi in Chhatredeurali is similar. He constructed a house 22 years ago but has yet to receive the land title. There are other landless squatters who have been deprived of land ownership certificates. Bhuwan said, “The commission had informed us about providing the land certificate a long time ago. But we don’t know when the authorities will distribute the document.”
Around 500 squatters in Lanti, Bhotechaur and Tribeni of Chhatredeurali Rural Municipality, Shantinagar of Sharada Municipality and Devsthal and Amra of Bangad Kupinde Municipality had received land plots to construct houses in two phases (38 years ago and 22 years ago). They had received five to 10 metres of land plots but none owns them.
Ganesh Bharati, a local man in Lanti, said he has been frequenting to the commission’s office claiming the land, to no avail. According to the District Land Revenue Office, the commission has refused to issue land certificates citing that some of the landless squatters had sold the plots and started encroaching upon the forestland.
Three years ago, the commission requested the squatters to apply for land ownership. Hurmat Bahadur Hamal, a non-gazetted second class officer, admitted that the forms submitted by the landless squatters have been stuck at the District Land Revenue Office.
“Instead of studying the details, the Land Revenue Office has stopped distributing land ownership certificates,” said Bhim Bahadur Oli, a native of Lanti, adding that they have been unable to take bank loans and do business without land titles. “We don’t know how long we have to live the life of landless squatters.”
The squatters have repeatedly demanded the concerned authority solve their problem. However, the district does not have the contact office of the commission, making it difficult for squatters like Nepali and Badi to acquire the land titles.
Purna Nepali, a resident of Bangad Kupinde, said he has been compelled to go to India in search of jobs since he too cannot apply for loans to start a business. He said, “If I had the ownership certificate, I could operate a business by mortgaging the land. Getting a job here is not easy either.”