24 ropanies of Rani Mahal’s land encroached upon: ReportThe National Vigilance Centre says ownership titles have been tampered with in collusion with employees of District Land Revenue, District Survey Office and the then VDC office.
Haphazard construction of new infrastructure around Rani Ghat, or Rani Mahal as the palace is famously known as, has put the historical site at risk and destroyed the beauty of the palace.
Amid news of such construction work taking place in the area, the National Vigilance Centre has released a new report stating that around 24 ropanies of the land of the palace has been encroached upon by these new hotels and restaurants.
The report also states that ownership papers of the palace land and its vicinity have been erased from the record books. The Centre has concluded this act has been carried out in collusion with the employees of District Land Revenue, District Survey Office and the then VDC office.
Shiva Parajuli, the amin, or land surveyor, of Tansen Municipality, said Rani Mahal covers an area of 5 ropanies 12 aanas 2 dam. But according to Lilaraj Bhattarai, a local of Baughaghumha, Ranimahal covers around 30 ropanies of land.
And despite concerned authority knowing about the haphazard construction, it has remained a mute spectator, locals say. “Ranimahal has already lost most of its land area,” said Tara Singh Thapa, a local of Tansen.
Rani Mahal is a castle built by former Palpa governor Khadga Shumsher Rana more than a century ago on the banks of the Kali Gandaki river. A year ago, the Department of Archeology had handed over the responsibility of the palace to Tansen Municipality.
The land of Rani Mahal has over the years been registered in the name of individuals after important documents of the palace were destroyed in a blaze 14 years. And even though the registered landowners have been frequenting the ward office to pay revenue for their land plots (as per the registration), the ward office says it has not received the revenue yet.
Krishna Prasad Basyal, chairman of Bagnaskali Rural Municipality (a bordering local unit to Tansen Municipality), said they will solve the problem through discussion with the Department of Archeology and municipal representatives.
Bhattarai, however, says that the land registered in the name of the individuals should be transferred back to the palace. He said, “The palace should be given back its encroached land. There were parks and gardens on the premises of the palace. Now, it has nothing.”
Jog Bahadur Pandeya, a local, said that the garden of the palace was registered in the name of individuals more than 40 years ago. “Then, no one paid attention to conserve the palace. But now that the palace has become a source of tourist attraction, people want to know the details of land ownership,” said Pandeya.
The last major renovation of Rani Mahal was undertaken in the late 1990s.