CNP authorities helpless as forest gets encroached

Chitwan, June 4

Religious, social, educational and private physical structures have been built by encroaching forest land and these activities have been carried out under political patronage for a long time in Chitwan.

District Forest Office Chitwan and Chitwan National Park, however, have failed to remove those structures built on 2,898 hectare land.

Forest officials say structures constructed on the encroached land could be removed only if all state mechanisms were mobilised simultaneously.

Out of 1,682 square kilometres of land under the supervision of CNP, 1,200 hectare has been encroached. CNP Communication Officer and Assistant Officer Nurendra Aryal said the park could not remove people living in the encroached land for a long time unilaterally.

The CNP spreads to Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Makawanpur, and Parsa. Squatters, temples, organisations and individuals have encroached most of the places at the park.

Land at 12 places, including Chitwan’s Badarjhula, Kusumekhola, Pyauli, among others, under the CNP have been encroached.

According to Aryal, Gajendramokshyadham, Pithauli, among others in Nawalparasi have been encroached.

Chitwan National Park has 952.53 square kilometres while its madhyawarti area is 729 square kilometres. CNP employees say it is very hard to remove some people encroaching the land as they have got political backing.

National Park and Wildlife Act has provisioned Rs 10,000 fine or two-year-jail term or both for any individual involved in encroaching the park’s land. The park, however, has failed to take action due to political patronage.

District Forest Office Chitwan Chief Kedarnath Paudel said out of 44,900 hectare land under its supervision, 1,698 hectare had been encroached in the district. Houses, shanties, temples, gumba, schools, and churches have been built on encroached land.

DFO Paudel said all state mechanisms with political commitment could vacate the encroached forest area. He clarified that his office alone could not remove the encroaching structures. The land encroachment that started from 1967 increased between 1987 and 1996.