Flood victims in Banke have been living in temporary shelters encroaching forest land for many years after the authority concerned paid no attention to relocate them to a safer place. The flood victims of 1987 have not yet been given permanent shelters.

The flood and landslide victims post-1987 have also been staying in the forest land for years. According to Division Forest Office, Banke, most of the victims are staying in the community forest.

As many as 3,600 families are living in the forest. Forest Office Information Officer Ganesh Bahadur Khadka said that locals were shifted to safer places after the flooded Rapti and other rivers entered human settlements. He said the forest was encroached by people after the authority concerned failed to provide land to relocate them. According to statistics of the division forest office, around 575 hectares land was encroached upon by the flood victims.

As many as 3,990 huts were constructed encroaching the forest area. Khadka said that around 42 per cent non-flood and landslide victims have encroached the forest land. The victims have been left in a lurch as the concerned bodies have shown no interest in providing them land.

Ward Chair Janak Bahadur Tharu at Raptisonari Rural Municipality said that the problems of landslide and flood victims had to be addressed by the centre. He added that the victims had the right to stay safe even in the jungle until the authority concerned came up with an alternative to relocate them.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 13 2021, of The Himalayan Times.