Colour-coded land ownership certificates mooted

Kathmandu June 13

The government is planning to issue four different types of colour-coded land ownership certificates depending on utilisation of land plots.

As per the draft of Land Management and Utilisation Policy and Act, land ownership certificates in green colour will be issued to those who want to utilise their land plots for agriculture; red for commercial purpose, yellow for forest land and another shade of green for industrial purpose.

“As per the new policy, people wanting to run commercial agriculture through a company will be eligible to own 50 bighas of land at the maximum,” Minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperative Chakrapani Khanal told The Himalayan Times.

As per the current act, a person can hold 11 bighas of land in the Tarai and 30 ropani in Kathmandu. That’s why people wanting to run commercial agriculture or for commercial purpose through a company are facing difficulties.

“The draft will get final shape after we finish collecting feedback from stakeholders by Friday,” said Khanal. He said ownership certificates would also be issued to those who had not acquired land ownership certificate for various reasons. “Land plots of various guthis and trusts which have been used by people for around 200 years will be transferred to the persons’ name who are currently using such land,” he added.

According to the minister, the land will be classified under 11 categories, including health, education and industrial. Land categorised under one particular category cannot be used for other purposes.

Given rampant fragmentation of land by real state agents, the ministry has put a ban on land plotting. However, lobby groups are pressuring the ministry to lift the ban.

“The land management problem has been chronic. Without land management and utilisation policy and act we cannot resolve this problem,” said Khanal, adding the ministry would not lift the ban.

As per the ministry’s study, misuse of arable land has resulted in significant reduction of agriculture productivity and increase in food imports. Nepal imports food products worth around Rs 140 billion annually, while exports stand at around Rs 12.50 billion. “Without proper management of land, agriculture development is not possible,” said the minister.

According to the ministry, present budget allocation is not enough to boost agricultural productivity. The finance ministry has allocated Rs 40.10 billion for the fiscal 2018-19, of which Rs 33.71 billion will be spent by the federal government, Rs 4.16 billion by provincial governments and Rs 2.22 billion will go to the local governments.