Kathmandu, February 8
The government is planning to introduce a law, which states that all land owners must mandatorily determine their land status again. The major reasons for the new law are to manage land as per its use and also for tax collection purposes.
The Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMCPA) has mentioned that the land owners must now update their land records and certificates through the local level.
This provision has been incorporated in the new Land Use Bill prepared by the ministry and the bill has been registered at the Federal Parliament for discussion and endorsement. Earlier, the bill had divided land into 10 classifications. They are agricultural zone, residential zone, commercial zone, industrial zone, mines and minerals zone, cultural and archaeological zone, river and lake-reservoir zone, forest zone, public use and open space zone, and building materials (stone, sand) excavation zone.
As per the bill, land owners must determine their land status as per the purpose for which the land is being used and renew the status every year.
Secretary at MoLMCPA Gopinath Mainali, said the local government will have authority to manage such a system as per the law. He informed that the law will require local, provincial and federal governments to prepare an overall land use map of the area under their respective jurisdictions and develop appropriate plans.
“The practice at the moment is that land owners have been registering their land for one purpose but using it for a different purpose, which has resulted in mismanagement of land and also a loss in the tax that is being collected,” said Mainali. He added that since the local level has more knowledge on categories, types and records of land, the ministry
has handed over the major rights including land assessment and tax assessment of land to them.
Mainali further said new bill will address issue of land that has been classified for a different purpose from being fragmented for residential use and also help in integration of land.
On January 12, the ministry had relaxed some of the restrictions imposed on plotting land except for land that has been categorised as agricultural zone. As per the ministry, the total ban on land plotting issued in August, 2017 had been reviewed because of practical difficulties in implementation of the rules.
Moreover, the bill also mentions that land owners who keep their arable land uncultivated for three years will be fined up to Rs 300,000.
A version of this article appears in print on February 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.