Land record dispute of Himal Cement ends

Cabinet authenticates old record that showed registration of altogether 1,050 ropanis in the name of the factory

Kathmandu, October 15

Putting an end to the dispute in the actual land owned by Himal Cement Factory, a recent Cabinet meeting has decided to give authenticity to the old records that showed the factory owned a total of 1,050 ropanis of land.

The government, some three years back, had decided to claim land of Himal Cement, believed to be 816 ropanis, to develop an Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) and International Exhibition Venue (IEV).

However, Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) — the executing agency of ICD Chobhar — had found records of only 776 ropanis of land listed in name of the factory at Land Revenue Office, which could be transferred to the government. Upon investigation, it was found that while Himal Cement had acquired 1,050 ropanis of land while setting up the factory, some parts of the land was encroached by the locals and some sections has been given to community forest following decision of District Forest Office.

Following the disputes with the locals and lack of records with the Land Registration Office, the NITDB had formed a committee under the leadership of the director general of Department of Land Reform and Management, comprising members from the NITDB, Land Registration Office Kalanki and Survey Office Kalanki. The committee discovered an old record which showed that Himal Cement had acquired 1,050 ropanis of land in Chobhar, but which had not been updated in the Land Revenue Office. As the land of Himal Cement was registered at the Survey Office in 1966, there is no proper record of the entire land acquired by the cement factory.

Based on the findings, the NITDB had proposed the Cabinet through its parent ministry — Ministry of Commerce (MoC) — to develop the map (blueprint) of the land and update the record of entire 1,050 ropanis of land at Land Revenue Office. The Cabinet meeting, on Thursday, approved the proposal, according to high-level sources at the MoC.

“Until now, only 776 ropanis of land of Himal Cement had been transferred to the government. The recent Cabinet decision has paved way to register the entire 1,050 ropanis of land in name of government,” said Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of the NITDB.

As debris clearance of demolished structures of Himal Cement is in the last leg, the recent Cabinet decision has paved the way to take forward the ICD and IEV project, as per Basnet.

The World Bank has set a deadline of January 11, 2018 for completion of the project. But, based on the current preparation, it seems the NITDB will be able to just start bidding for the construction contract by then. Basnet, however, said that the project construction process is expected to move smoothly and the World Bank is likely to consider time extension to implement the project.

World Bank Group has extended $15.5 million for construction of the ICD, which is now expected to be completed by 2019. The ICD would have capacity to accommodate 626 containers of 20-foot each, parking facility for 205 trucks, loading and unloading facilities, and six warehouses.

“Equipped with customs, quarantine, bank and other required facilities for customs clearance, it will be able to cope with traffic flow till 2039, based on the current import and export scenario,” as per NITDB.

Similarly, the IEV proposed by NITDB will have an exhibition hall with a capacity to accommodate 435 stalls, auditorium hall, five conference rooms, meeting rooms, food court and parking facility, among others, which is expected to end problems that domestic traders have been facing to host exhibitions.