6,000ha of forest encroached uponAround 6,000 hectares of forest cover in Kanchanpur have been encroached upon and being converted into private properties.
Around 6,000 hectares of forest cover in Kanchanpur have been encroached upon and being converted into private properties.
According to the District Forest Office (DFO), the forest areas in Khalla Masetti of Bhimdatta Municipality, Polkhari of Bedkot Municipality and Pillariphant of Shuklaphanta Municipality have been taken over by illegal settlers. Forest land encroachment is rampant particularly at Brahmadev, Totiphuleli, Pipaladi, Mahakali, Krishnapur and Dekhatbhuli.
Forest officials said the illegal settlers were being protected by local political parties.
“We are having difficulty evicting the illegal settlers who have been living in the forest areas for a long time. Their connection with the local political parties has made the situation even more complex,” said DFO chief Shiva Prasad Sharma.
The people living on state-owned forest land have been claiming that they are landless.
Ramchandra Regmi, chairman of Jaya Shankar Community Forest Consumers Committee, said if the DFO has to evict the old settlements from the forest land then the authorities should first make arrangement to resettle them elsewhere. “They will return and take over the land if they are evicted without offering them an alternative,” he said.