Forest officials start tree plantation on encroached forestlandHouses and huts built in the area were demolished to plant saplings
The Division Forest Office Mahottari has started planting saplings at Patu in Bardibas-3 by evicting encroachers from the forestland.
Hemanta Prasad Sah, chief at the division office, said that his office recovered five hectares of encroached land in the Patu Community Forest area. “We started evicting illegal settlers from the forestland after encroachment started to become uncontrollable in the district.”
Santosh Kumar Yadav, a ranger at the Patu Area Forest Office, said they have started planting trees in the land after demolishing houses and huts built by the encroachers. The community forest is planting 10,000 saplings of Khayar and Kamali, among other trees. Yadav said they plan to plant around 50,000 saplings in Rajabas, Gauridanda, and Patu areas.
Under the Forest Management Programme, the forest office has allocated Rs 2.5 million for the afforestation programme. “We are also going to conserve plants which were planted last fiscal year,” said Yadav.
Locals are happy after the forest office started reclaiming the encroached land. Kamal Bahadur Kyapchhaki, a native of Bardibas-3, said that encroachers have used forestland as if it were their private property. “They have been building houses and cultivating in the forestland. It’s a good drive to remove them,” said Kyapchhaki.
According to the forest office, there are 75 community and three collaborative forests in Mahottari district. Forest officials said hundreds of hectares of forestland have been encroached upon in the name of landless people and flood victims.
Sah said the forest office has already notified occupants to move away. There are plans to build a fence around the forest.