Illegal settlers occupy more than 25,000ha forest land in KailaliMore than 25,000 hectares of forest land in Kailali district have been encroached upon and being converted into private properties.
More than 25,000 hectares of forest land in Kailali district have been encroached upon and being converted into private properties.
“Encroachment in Kailali is higher than other districts,” noted former District Forest Officer Ramesh Chandra Thakuri. “The encroachment is even higher in the last three years,” he said.
Within the last 10 years, 3,000 hectares of forestland in Attariya has been encroached by the people. An assistant officer at the DFO said encroachment of forests was going on with the backing of local political parties. “People are selling forestland in Dhangadi as well as in other rural areas in the district,” he said. The DFO officials
admitted that the forestlands are being encroached in the name of landless people in the district.
“People are encroaching upon the forestland in the name of landless, freed Hailya and Kamaiya in the district. The racket has been actively encroaching and selling forestland,” said DFO officials. “Large swathes of the community forests are being encroached upon in the name of preserving street cows and oxen,” an official said.
“We don’t have an official record of the forestland encroachment. However, more than 25,000 hectares of forestland has been encroached upon in the district,” said Assistant Forest Officer Bhim Dhakal.
The DFO officials said they were unable to intervene as those involved in encroachment enjoy political patronage. Forestland encroachment is rampant particularly at Basanta, bazaar areas in Kailali, areas along the East-West Highway, Attariya-Dadeldhura Highway and Chure. The forestland at Takhate, Belpani, Patyani, Simalgaira, Trishuldanda, Damdare and Salenagada in Chure areas have been completely encroached upon.
“It’s difficult to stop encroachment without the support of political parties. The government and other concerned sides should work together if the forest lands are to be recovered,” said District Forest Officer Rajesh KC, adding that they are making efforts to evict illegal settlers from the forestlands. Of the total 328,552 hectares of land in Kailali, the forestland covers a total 205,939 hectares.