6,200 ha forestland encroached upon

- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Dec 20, 2016-

A large swathe of forestland, about 6,200 hectares, has been encroached upon in Kanchanpur district in the name of landless people, freed Kamaiyas (former bonded-labourers), freed Haliya (former bonded agricultural labourers) for the last three to four decades, according to the data of District Forest Office (DFO). 

People have built a settlement encroaching 300 hectares of land in Pillariphant, 200 hectares of land in Masetti and Tundikhel, around 150 hectares in Chure, 500 

hectares in Bedkot Polkhari, 200 hectares in Khalla and 50 hectares in Naurnanga, among other areas in the district. 

Though the DFO receives annual budget to evict the encroachers from the forestland, officials there lamented that they could not clear the forest area as the encroachers are backed by political parties. The DFO has been allocated Rs 1.2 million this to evict the encroachers from 30 hectares of forestland. District Forest Officer Shiva Prasad Sharma said they had planned to clear some forest land this year. 

The DFO could not utilise last year’s budget of Rs 1.8 million to clear 35 hectares of forestland. Sharma pointed the finger of blame to lack of support from political 

leaders in evacuating the encroachers. 

A majority of settlements in the encroached land belong to the poor people. The settlers said they would not leave the place until the government provides them with proper shelters. 

“People have converted the destroyed forestland into a farmland. Now, they have cultivated wheat in their fields. Some of them have no alternatives to settle in, so we are facing challenges to recover that,” said Sharma. 

Published: 20-12-2016 09:24

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