Motipur locals say no to planned industrial zoneLocals in Motipur, Rupandehi district have launched a protest against the government’s plan to establish an industrial estate in the region and have refused to give up their land. Upset residents submitted a memorandum to the local administration against the proposed construction of a manufacturing zone on their farms.
Locals in Motipur, Rupandehi district have launched a protest against the government’s plan to establish an industrial estate in the region and have refused to give up their land. Upset residents submitted a memorandum to the local administration against the proposed construction of a manufacturing zone on their farms.
Lilaram Thakur of Farsatikar said they were not ready to surrender their fields to the project. “We are unable to provide the land that we have been using for many years,” he said.
The government has announced plans to set up an industrial estate in each of the seven proposed federal states. As part of this scheme, the government will acquire 814 bighas of land in Motipur to construct an industrial zone for Province 5.
The district administration and the survey and land revenue offices are reported to have given their consent to acquire the land. Besides selecting a consultant, the authorities have allocated Rs50 million to complete a detailed project report (DPR) by mid-January.
Out of the total land planned to be taken over for the planned industrial estate, 100 bighas lie in Motipur, Farsatikar and Tilottama. There are 700 houses in the region, and many of the residents have been living here for the last half century.
The proposed site for the industrial estate consists of forests and the dried bed of the Tinau River left behind after the river shifted. Government agencies had proposed constructing the industrial zone in the area arguing that the land was not privately owned.
Jagannath Khanal, a resident of Motipur, said they would not leave the place just because they did not possess land ownership certificates.
Industrial Estate Management Limited (IEML) started a field based study following the protest by locals. However, no conclusion has been reached on relocating the residents.
IEML General Manager Nanda Kishor Basnet said they would wait for the final detailed project report before taking any decision. However, locals have been pressurising the government to make a decision on their resettlement before waiting for the DPR.
The dispute between the authorities and locals has delayed the construction of the industrial zone. A decade ago, the Butwal Chamber of Commerce had also tried to build an industrial estate on 240 bighas in the area.
Nawaraj Shrestha, coordinator of the Motipur Industrial Estate Construction Committee, said the authorities should not start construction without settling the dispute with residents.
Chief District Officer of Rupandehi Bishnu Prasad Dhakal agreed with Shrestha. “The government can find 814 bighas of land far from residential areas to build the industrial zone,” he said.