Koshi flood victims pay tax for inundated landThe displaced families no longer have their lands and properties; all their homes were swept away by the flood and their lands remain inundated for the past four decades. Yet they continue to pay land revenue tax in the hopes of receiving compensation from the government someday.
People who were displaced by the Koshi floods around four decades ago are still living on the banks of the river in Railway, Jabdi, Bichpani, Mahendra Nagar, Bange, Bharaul, Madhuban, Rajbas, Prakashpur and Aaradi, among other areas, in Sunsari district. Today, more than 25,000 people live as squatters in these areas.
The displaced families no longer have their lands and properties; all their homes were swept away by the flood and their lands remain inundated for the past four decades. Yet they continue to pay land revenue tax in the hopes of receiving compensation from the government someday.
They have also been transferring the ownership of their inundated lands to their family members.
“Fifty-eight years ago, we had purchased five bighas of land here and built homes for our family. However, the floods destroyed half of our properties and our entire land was inundated 39 years ago,” said 76-year-old Aanada Prasad Gautam, a flood victim.
Recently, land belonging to Gautam’s father was transferred to Aanada Prasad and his six brothers in Jabdi of Barahachhetra Municipality-2. Aanada and his brother received 15 katthas of land each; however, those lands are of no use as they have been inundated for the last four decades.
The then Chatara Village Panchayat had shifted the flood victims to a public land in the eastern side of the Koshi river bank until “next decision”. However, the government has failed to do anything for the flood victims so far. Kedar Bahadur Karki, a flood victim, said that political leaders visit their settlements and make claims to solve their problems but to no avail.
“The Koshi flood victims are just being used as a ‘vote bank’ by these politicians,” said Karki.
Six years ago, the government had formed a committee led by Kumar Paudel to identify the flood victims’ problems and bring solutions to them. The committee had also submitted the report to the government, but the report has not been evaluated yet.