Timure locals protest over land acquisition

- Krishna Thapa, RASUWA

Apr 30, 2016-No commerce has passed through the Rasuwagadhi border point for the last two days following a protest by locals of Timure village against the government’s land acquisition plan to build a dry port there.

The government moved to establish a dry port at Rasuwagadhi as the Rasuwa-Kyirong route has been gaining importance for Nepal-China trade since the Tatopani border point further east was closed by last year’s earthquake. 

Locals said they would have nowhere to go if their land was acquired, and have prevented vehicular movement at the border. 

More than 500 trucks loaded with apples imported from China for the upcoming Mother’s Day have been stuck at the Rasuwa Customs Office since Thursday.

“The apples have started to rot,” said importer Dharma Lal Shrestha. According to traders, a long line of trucks carrying apples and readymade products are parked on the highway between Rasuwagadhi, Khattey Khola and Timure. The metal 

containers heat up in the sun, and the apples inside are deteriorating fast, traders said.

“The weather is hot out here, and the strike has spoiled the fruits,” said Shyam Basnet, customs officer at Rasuwa. “About 150 shipments which have already acquired customs clearance have been stranded here.” 

The agitating locals have brought the border point to a complete halt demanding an equal amount of replacement land elsewhere if their holdings are acquired. They said the government should not displace people through forced acquisition.

“Where do we go after they acquire all our land?” asked Dorje Tamang, coordinator of the struggle committee, “Turning our land into a dry port will leave us homeless.” 

The government has initiated the dry port construction process with Chinese assistance at Timure to facilitate trade. The two countries have signed economic assistance agreement.

The construction of an integrated building with a capacity for 300 containers falls under the purview of the Intermodal Transportation Development Committee. 

The dry port will be spread over 250 ropanis of land. The project plans to acquire 5 hectares from Langtang National park, 58 ropanis from locals and the remaining 110 ropanis from different government institutions. 

“The government should not displace us,” said Kami Narpu Tamang, a local. Two days have past since the three-day ultimatum given by locals to the district administration. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance said that a compensation budget would be released later. Talks are being held but the parties have not come to an agreement.

 

Published: 30-04-2016 09:17

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