Government loses large swathes of land to enchroachersAround 66,000 square metres of public land—belonging to seven government offices—have been encroached upon by individuals, a performance audit report of the Office of Auditor General shows.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
Around 66,000 square metres of public land—belonging to seven government offices—have been encroached upon by individuals, a performance audit report of the Office of Auditor General shows.
The encroached plots of land have been used for private housing and other purposes, the auditing body said in its report for the fiscal year 2017-18.
Land belonging to the Pokhara-based Transport Management Office (Driving License Unit), Gandaki Zonal Hospital and Agriculture Development Bank; Border Police Office, Kodari; District Forest Office, Mugu; Nepal Police School (previously Dipendra Police Boarding School), Lamahi; and District Court, Jajarkot, have been encroached.
Nepal Police is one institution that has lost the largest chunks of land to encroachers in Lamahi and Kodari.
As much as 33,863 square metres of land in Lamahi, belonging to Nepal Police School, has been encroached, according to the auditing body’s report. And more than 60 private houses have been built on the land.
The land is believed to have been encroached when, in 2006, the peace process began and a number of people occupied the land, with support from then Maoist rebels.
With the then government failing to take any action to prevent individuals from occupying the land, those who occupied the land continued their stay there.
“Now, they have their own home, and even do farming in our land,” said Superintendent of Police Bel Bahadur Pandey of District Police Office, Dang. “It is now difficult to evict them without political support and initiative.”
Similarly, Border Police Office, in Kodari, lost 19,331 square metres of land to local intruders, the report says. The Transport Management Office in Pokhara and District Court Jajarkot have seen 3,561 square kilometres of land (each) being encroached. And Gandaki Zonal Hospital has witnessed encroachment of 2,543 square meters of its land. Private houses and huts have been built on the encroached lands.
Agriculture Development Bank’s 3,052 square metre of land has been encroached upon in Pokhara, where Gandaki Mini Mart, a private company, has erected huts and rented them out. The forest office in Mugu has lost land area of 80 square meters to intruders.
“These are just some examples of encroachment. Land belonging to the government has been encroached upon all over the country,” said Netra Paudel, director at auditor general’s office. “Although the land is under the ownership of government agencies, they have not been able to utilise them due to the encroachment.”
According to an official at the nation’s constitutional auditing body, there are several other examples of public land being encroached, but the report has incorporated only the spaces where exact area of encroachment has been confirmed.
The auditing body has pointed out that a lack of a permanent body to tackle the issue of public land encroachment, as envisioned in the Land Use Policy 2015, is the reason behind such encroachment.
According to the Nepal government work division regulation, the Land Management Ministry is responsible for protecting public land.