MAHENDRANAGAR, DECEMBER 1
As many as 2,473 families displaced during expansion of Shuklaphanta National Park in Kanchanpur district have been awaiting for a permanent solution to their pressing problem - lack of registered land.
Nearly two decades ago, the erstwhile government displaced them while expanding the then Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.
They have been residing in temporary camps at Dhakka, Tarapur and Lallare Danda in the district.
Although the government rehabilitated many displaced people in various phases, the plight of displaced ones here has not come to the notice of the local levels.
The local authority has already formed over two-and-a-half dozen commissions to address the issues, but to no avail.
The displaced ones have been exerting pressure on the authorities concerned by launching various protest programmes (strike, closure, hunger-strike, demonstrations and marches) at the administration offices and on the East-West Highway.
Reserve-victims District Struggle Committee Chairperson Hirasingh Bhandari bemoaned that the problems of the displaced ones have not been addressed even after two decades.
According to him, there are 604 families temporarily residing at Dhakka camp, 158 at Tarapur and 13 in Beldangi's Lallare Danda.
The 29th Commission formed earlier to address the displaced ones' issues had recommended that the government provide one kathha land or Rs 500,000 to each family. But the victims had protested against the scheme and the government had to stall the process.
"We had to abandon our 2 to 4 bigha of land (one bigha is equivalent to 6,772.63 square metres) during displacement. How could we accept the 1 kathha (338.63 square meters) of land given by the government?" questioned Bhandari.
Likewise, National Park victim Dipendra Bohora said that the government was not serious about their issue.
According to him, the government had distributed identity cards to the survivors.
The other displaced ones were taking refuge in unmanaged shelters on public land.
Surendra Bam, coordinator of the taskforce formed to resolve the displaced ones' issues, said that the taskforce had already submitted a report with alternatives.
"The victims should get justice and we are hopeful that justice will be served to them," expressed Bam.
The Bam-coordinated taskforce had recommended 10 kathha land to each household or Rs six million to each household.
"We recommend that the government provide shelter or compensation in cash," he argued.
A version of this article appears in the print on December 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.