Urbanisation eats up fertile fields in KailaliFertile farmlands in Kailali district, celebrated as the food basket of Province 7, are shrinking due to excessive land plotting and haphazard urbanisation.
Fertile farmlands in Kailali district, celebrated as the food basket of Province 7, are shrinking due to excessive land plotting and haphazard urbanisation.
Fields where farmers grow paddy and other crops are being developed into real estate. As the government has banned dividing land for development, people are partitioning joint family property to get around the rule.
Property brokers and real estate developers are encouraging people to split their ancestral property among joint family members.
“Around 30 to 40 partitions of land are registered at our office daily,” said Dayananda Joshi, chief of the Survey Office of the district. “A large piece of land is partitioned in the name of different family members.” A bigha of land is divided into 40 parcels of 10 dhur each, according to Joshi.
Survey Office statistics show that 3,902 people divided their land in the name of partitioning the ancestral property. “In order to save cultivable land from further fragmentation, the government should prohibit division even when ancestral property is being partitioned,” said Joshi. “Otherwise, within a few years, all the cultivate land in the district will become a concrete jungle.”
There are 13 local bodies—seven municipalities and six rural municipalities—in the district, and land plotting is being seen in all local bodies. Land fragmentation is high in Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City and Godabari, Sukkhad, Lamki Chuha and Tikapur municipalities, according to Prabhat Chaudhary, a real estate developer in the district.
After Dhangadhi was declared the temporary capital of Province 7, people began to be attracted to the city which resulted in a surge in demand and land prices, according to Ganesh Shah, another real estate developer. “Lately, real estate transactions have increased by 50 percent in Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolis,” said Shah. “As there is a rumor that Attariya will be the permanent capital of the province in the future, land plotting has increased in the area too.”
Land plotting has become so rampant in the district that even the command area of the Rani Jamara Irrigation Project spread across Tikapur and Lamki Chuha municipalities has been fragmented into small housing plots.
According to a local civil society leader Dinesh Bhandari, if the fragmentation of cultivable land doesn’t stop, there will be food insecurity in the province in the future. “Kailali district is the food basket of Province 7,” said Bhandari. “But land fragmentation is going on at a very rapid pace. The government must stop this practice.”
The local bodies must pay due attention to the problem and preserve cultivable land, according to Bhandari. Around 72,000 hectares of land in the district is used for agriculture.