Forest encroachment goes unchecked in BardiyaDeforestation has been going unchecked in some community forests in the district for the past one and a half months.
Deforestation has been going unchecked in some community forests in the district for the past one and a half months. Locals said some individuals are actively encroaching upon forest land taking advantage of after the prolonged strikes in the region.
Sources said though complaints have been registered with the District Forest Office (DFO), officials are reluctant to visit the area citing insecurity. DFO staffers said forest mafias have been building huts in the forest areas.
In the past, the DFO had removed such illegal huts from forest areas.
Gulariya-based Jay Kusumba Devi Community Forest users said people pretending to be landless have already built dozens of huts in the forest land. District Forest Officer Bhairab Ghimire said some forest users informed the DFO about the encroachment. “Our vehicles cannot go to the area due to the prolonged banda and strikes. We are going to take legal action against those who are involved in constructing huts at Jay Kusumba Devi Community Forest,” he said.
However, Topha Yadav, a forest user, blamed the DFO for being apathetic towards the rampant encroachment. “Hundreds of squatters are going to occupy the area,” she said.
Locals said some people have already started selling the illegally occupied forest land without providing any documents. Four months ago, the DFO had arrested three individuals on the charge of selling forest land. Meanwhile, some fake squatters who have been removed from the community forest of Magaragadhi-3 and Padnaha-3 and 5 have started constructing huts in the same forest areas. Officials at Area Forest Office Magaragadhi said local forest users have removed some of the illegally built huts.