Illegal settlers grab 3,709 hectares of Forest Ministry land in MakwanpurIllegal settlers have encroached around 3,709 hectares of forestland in Makwanpur and built unauthorised private properties, according to the Province 3 Ministry of Forest.
Illegal settlers have encroached around 3,709 hectares of forestland in Makwanpur and built unauthorised private properties, according to the Province 3 Ministry of Forest.
From the 13 districts in Province-3, Makwanpur has lost highest forestland.
Currently, 5,955 illegal settlers have built houses and irrigated farmlands on the land belonging to the Ministry of Forest.
People grabbed the forestlands and built their houses after floods and landslides destroyed their houses and properties in the then Manahari, Sarikhet, Kankada, Khairang, Kalikatar, and Raksirang VDCs 15 years ago.
Forestland encroachment is also rampant in Harnamadi, Chhatiwan, Raigaun, Phaparbari, Dhiyal, Makwanpurgadhi, Basamadi, Hetauda, Gogane, Bhainse, Handikhola, Churiyamai, Palung, Markhu and Bhimphedi areas.
Province 3 has 1.09 million hectares of forest cover. Forest Ministry Secretary Shiva Kumar Wagle said, “Illegal settlers have encroached upon 3,774 hectares of forestlands in the entire province. In Makwanpur alone, the total forest cover loss is 3,709 hectares.”
Ganesh Bahadur Muktan of the then Raksirang-8 said he constructed a temporary hut in Ramantar forest area after floods displaced his family.
“Initially, there were only 20 huts here. Now, more than 500 more permanent houses have been built in Ramantar,” said Muktan.
Forest officials said political parties protect the illegal settlers. Hetauda District Forest Officer Praladh Dhital admitted officials find it difficult to evict illegal settlers living in government forest areas.
Makwanpur District Forest Office (DFO) said that there was no encroachment on the forestland in Makwanpur lately. DFO officials said the illegal settlers had encroached on the forestlands a long time ago.