Most families in Achham are without land titlesEven though locals have already submitted information about their ownership to the special survey office, more than half of the applicants are yet to receive their renewed certificates.
The District Survey Office in Achham had carried out a special operation in the fiscal year 2074/75, surveying 74 of the 75 VDCs in the district. The residents of those VDCs had registered their land at the office, but more than half of them are yet to receive their land ownership certificate.
The original land ownership certificates of most households were lost or destroyed in a fire that broke out in the Land Revenue Office during a Maoist attack in 2001. Therefore, the special survey was conducted to update those documents that were destroyed or lost. According to the District Survey Office, 36,267 households have received their land ownership certificates so far, while over 50 percent of the applicants are yet to receive theirs.
“The special survey’s work has not been up to the mark, as over 40,000 land owners are yet to receive their land titles,” said an official at the office under conditions of anonymity. “Many locals in wards 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in Mangalsen Municipality and a majority of people in Sanphebagar Municipality have not received their certificates yet.”
Meanwhile Madhav Joshi, acting chief of the special survey office, said that since the completion of the special survey work, there has not been much work at the office.
“We submitted the survey results to the District Survey Office,” Joshi said. “This has given us some leisure time.”
Joshi further said that the records of over 400 landowners in the erstwhile Thhanti VDC could not be found, which has stalled the certification distribution. “For this, the ministry should make a decision,” Joshi said. “For other areas, we have completed our work and submitted the results to the District Survey Office.”
Besides Thhanti locals, residents from other local units are also complaining that they haven’t received their land ownership certificates.
“Even after years of struggle, over 250 landowners are still deprived of the certificates,” said Thhir Bahadur Rawat, chief of Turmakhad Rural Municipality-1. “The locals can’t sell or lease their land, and apply for bank loans lest there come legal complications in the future.”
Khadka Bahadur Shah, a local of Turmakhad, said that without a land ownership paper, he cannot take out agriculture loan.
“Even though we have provided all the details about our land, we haven’t received certificates from the government,” Shah said.
Information Officer of the Survey Department at the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Damodar Dhakal said that the issue of land ownership certificate in Achham has been discussed for a long time in the ministry.
“If the landowners do not have enough proof to claim their land, then there’s nothing the department can do,” he said. “The department will take this issue to the cabinet meeting. We have the option to create a special commission and grant the certificates.”