Flood displaced forced out of Banke forest areas

- THAKUR SINGH THARU, Banke
Flood displaced forced out of Banke forest areas

Dec 13, 2014-

The districtwide campaign to raze illegal structures built encroaching upon land belonging to the community forest has taken a serious toll on the flood-displaced. The administration with the help of the Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and Armed Forest Security Personnel had initiated the campaign on Friday.

The local administration had decided to raze the illegal structures following complaints of rise in encroachment of lands belonging to community forests in the area by individuals posing as flood victims.

While the fake flood victims have already returned to their homes following the demolition of the illegal structures, the campaign carried out without recognising the genuine flood victims and making necessary provisions for them has left the latter in lurch.

“The administration had told us to take shelter in the forest following the floods that destroyed our homes and property. But now with the onset of winter the same administration has destroyed our shelters in the forest by terming them illegal. Where should we go now?” asked Sunita Chaudhary of Sarra, Phattehpur-7, who had been taking shelter under a makeshift tent at the Bhagwati Community Forest after being displaced by the Rapti floods.

“The administration has been very unjust to us as they have destroyed our shelter without ensuring proper resettlement,” Chaudhary complained.

 Likewise, another flood victim, Ram Gopal Chaudhary, lamented that instead of helping them during the winters, the government had only increased their problems by demolishing their shelter. Similarly, Sutiram Chaudhary, whose makeshift hut had already been razed halfway while he was requesting that he would remove the structure himself, complained that the administration should not have allowed them to built temporary structures in the community forests in the first place and that it was plain wrong to destroy their structures during the winters without making proper arrangements to rehabilitate them elsewhere.

The task force formed to prevent forest encroachment had started the campaign following complaints of increasing forest encroachment in 10 community forests across Rapti river. Although forest officials claimed that they had only razed those illegal structures that did not house any human settlers, hundreds of flood victims were present during the demolition drive carried out in Kusimiya Community Forest pleading the authorities not to raze the makeshift huts where they were living.

Approximately 100 structures were razed in Sidhanawa and Kusumiya Community Forest on Friday.

Meanwhile, information officer Badruddhin Khan of the District Forest Office said that they were taking necessary steps to rehabilitate genuine flood victims. Khan claimed that they had to use force in order to remove the fake flood victims encroaching forest land.

According to him, about 1123 illegal structures were built encroaching 122 hectares of forest land in 10 community forests across Rapti river by individuals posing as flood victims.

Published: 14-12-2014 09:32

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