Bankariyas want land ownership certificates, secure housing

- PRATAP BISTA, MAKWANPUR

Dec 26, 2014-

People belonging to Bankariya and Bote, two endangered and marginalised communities living in remote parts of the district, have requested the concerned authorities to make necessary arrangements and provisions to provide them with ownership certificates for the land that was provided to them by the government to ensure proper housing and means of sustenance for them.

Santamaya Bankariya, a woman leader of the community living in Musedhap, Handikhola-7 had put forth the demand to a group of lawmakers, Chief District Officer, representatives of various political parties and chiefs of government offices who had reached the Bankariya and Bote settlements at Manhari VDC on an inspection visit on Tuesday.

The Food Rights Network, Makwanpur and Food-first Information and Action Network (FIAN), Nepal had jointly organised the inspection visit by taking the lawmakers, government officials and political party representatives to the settlements. It was the first time that the government officials of the district had reached the Bankariya and Bote settlements in such a significant number. The government had provided nine hectares of land at Manahari to the Bankariyas a decade ago to build their settlement and use it to make their living for a period of 40 years as per the community-based leasehold forestry programme. And while the programme has helped the Bankariyas eke out a living, it has excluded them from Janata Aawas (peoples’ housing) programme initiated by the government. In the absence of land ownership certificates, the funds for the programme with regards to the communities have been frozen twice in the past.

Likewise, Thulimaya Bankariya requested funds for the construction of embankments as the settlement had been endangered by the erosions caused by rivers on both sides.

Although the government had developed electricity supply lines to the settlement with 16 households years ago, locals have not been able to enjoy electricity services as they do not have adequate funds to install electricity meter boxes.

Meanwhile, the concerns of Bote community were centred primarily on the issue of license permitting them to fish in the rivers. The community dependent upon fishing has been troubled as officials from Parsa Wildlife Reserve have not allowed them to fish on the rivers and have been arresting them frequently for unauthorized fishing.

There are 36 Bote households in Manhari-5 who are dependent on fishing as a means of sustenance. Locals asked the team to provide them with vocational and skill-oriented trainings and programmes in order to enable them to adopt alternative means of sustenance.

“We filed for an application for the permit to fish in the river eight months ago, but we are yet to hear from Reserve officials,” complained local Bishnu Bote.

While Local Development Officer Bhojraj Khatiwada pledged that the District Development Committee will help supply electricity to their houses, representatives and government officials assured that they will what is necessary to address their grievances at the earliest.

Published: 27-12-2014 09:04

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