A group of five families from India are planting crops on more than 50 bighas of public land at Gobargadha and Lalapati in Saptari without taking permission from the Nepali authority, according to Shailesh Kumar Sah, the mayor of Hanumannagar Kankalini Municipality.
“These famlies have fenced the land and even built tiny hutments on the property,” said Mayor Sah.
The land in question is located 5 km inside the Nepal-India border.
The family of Suratlal Mukhiya, who hails from Supaul of Bihar state of India, has planted wheat on around 10 bighas of land.
He said that they used to cultivate on the same property in the past as well.
“We remain here and grow crops throughout the rainy season before returning to our home,” said Mukhiya. “Until today no one has come to us asking whether we have taken permission to use the land.”
Mukhiya has built a small hut near the farm for his family.
Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said they were the first to arrive at Gobargadha this season and that more families from her village in Samada Kataiya were planning to come. “We only come here to grow our crops and we leave after the rainy season is over,” she said.
Gobargadha locals said many families from the Indian villages close to the border, including Ratanpura, Chhatauni, Koriyapati, Samada Kataiya, Raniganj, Bhataniya and Wasil, enter Nepal with th onset of monsoon every year for farming.
Dinesh Kumar Yadav, the district chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, said Gobargadha and Lalpati have long been seasonal farming locations for the people from India because of porous border between Nepal and India and lax security on the part of Nepali authorities.
“Even the no-man’s-land between the two countries are converted into a farmland because there are no one checking these territory incursions which have been taking place for years,” he said. Chief District Officer Bhagirath Pandey said he was unaware about the issue.
“No one has registered a complaint about this situation,” he said.