Victims tossed into bureaucratic minefield

Lalitpur, March 27

Almost two years after the 2015 earthquakes destroyed their homes, many quake victims in Lalitpur now have been thrown into a bureaucratic maze they have no means of navigating.

The government had declared that it would distribute reconstruction grants to those whose houses that were destroyed during the earthquakes. One of the requirements to qualify for the grant was to have landownership certificate.

However, more than 2,000 people in Lalitpur district lack land ownership certificate despite having legal claim to their land, thus depriving them of housing grant.

Kesab Shrestha, a local of Bajrabarahi in Lalitpur, said, “The land I own has been recorded in the land survey department, but they have still not issued a land ownership certificate to me even though I have a court order directing the department to do so. I have been waiting for the certificate for more than three years now, and this has deprived me of the housing grant.”

Another local Surendra Pariyar said that he hasn’t received the first installment of the grant although his name was on the name list of beneficiaries. He said, “We have been living and working on this land for five generations now, like other Dalit families in the vicinity. This land is ours by legal rights, but we haven’t been issued a land ownership certificate.”

The issue has arisen among victims, who have been living on other people’s land for generations in Godavari, Bajrabarahi, Karyavinayak, Khokana, Lele, Chapagau, Lubhu, Mathlatole, Majhatole, Machhatole, and Chhampi of Lalitpur. Despite repeated requests to various government offices, they have not been helped.

Although the government has issued new directives to allow victims without land ownership certificates to receive the housing grant, the directives have still not been implemented at the local level.

Director General of Department of Land Reform and Management Tika Ram Ghimire said locals can have land ownership certificates if the land has been recorded by Land Survey of 1964.