Kathmandu, January 16

People, who keep arable land uncultivated for three years, will soon be fined up to Rs 300,000. This provision has been incorporated in the new land law prepared by the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMCPA).

The ministry has registered the Land Use Bill in the Federal Parliament for discussion and endorsement. The bill, which has classified land under different categories, aims to make optimum use of land available in the country.

One of the provisions in the bill says, land owners, who keep more than two-thirds of their land uncultivated for three years in a row, will be fined up to Rs 300,000. The fine, however, can be waived if owners provide valid reasons for failing to cultivate the land to the local government.

“Fast growing population, internal migration, and unmanaged and rapid urbanisation, among others, have reduced the portion of arable land, forests and public land. It is, therefore, essential to make proper use of available land,” said MoLMCPA Secretary Gopinath Mainali.

The bill has divided land into 10 zones. 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. The law will require local, provincial and federal governments to prepare a land use map of the area under their jurisdiction and develop appropriate plans.

Earlier, the ministry had said it would develop software incorporating all necessary information on land and its use.

“The vision of this policy is to make optimum use of available land and land resources for country’s socio-economic development,” Mainali said, adding, “Illegal cutting down of large number of trees from forests and haphazard excavation of river-based materials have started posing threat and can invite disasters, such as landslides. The new law aims to address these problems as well.”

Last week, the MoLMCPA had relaxed some of the restrictions imposed on plotting of land. As per the ministry, the total ban on land plotting issued in August 2017 has been reviewed because of practical difficulties in implementation of the rules.