Sherpas want land ownership certificates

Sherpas want land ownership certificates

Nov 29, 2014-

Sherpa families living for centuries at Khambachhen village located 4,115 metres above sea level in Lelep-9, Taplejung, but lack land ownership certificates have been troubled after Kanchanjungha Conservation Area Management Council issued a notice asking them to pay tax for using “public land”.

The villagers, who hoped to receive land ownership certificates as their land was surveyed decades ago, said they will neither pay the stated tax nor leave the settlement. According to local residents, a team of government officials led by the then Zonal Administrator Shailendra Upadhyaya during the Panchayat regime had verified the settlers, who came  to the area centuries ago from Tibet, as Nepali nationals. Officials at the District Land Survey Office also said the area was registered in their field book.

Former Ward Chairperson Lakpa Sherpa, 81, said the area was surveyed for the first time in June 1989. He could not remember the names of survey officials but said they had walked for two weeks to supply cement and other survey equipment to the village from Lelep.

Meanwhile, the Sherpas have visited district headquarters and submitted an application at the Landless Squatters’ Problem Resolution Commission this week. According to Dandu Sherpa, a local resident, they approached various political leaders, lawmakers, Chief District Officer, Local Development Officer and District Forest Officer with a recommendation from the VDC office. “We are ready to take every risk to ensure that we get the certificates, we are ready to die fighting but will not pay the taxes or leave the settlement,” Sherpa said.

Lawmaker Dambar Dhwoj Tumbahamphe said he discussed the matter with Land Reform minister as well as secretary to grant land ownership certificates to the Sherpas. “As the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has halted land survey at the moment, the certificates can be provided to the villagers only after Cabinet approval,” Tumbahamphe said.

Located along the trekking route from district headquarters Phungling to Mt Kumbhakarna and Mt Kanchanjungha, the village also provides food and accommodation to around 8,500 tourists each year.


Published: 30-11-2014 10:18

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