Rautahat, November 18
Tamang and Magar communities have been living on encroached land in Bholentar village in Chure area to the west of Rautahat’s Chandranigahapur. These communities had migrated from Makawanpur, Sindhuli, Kavre and other areas almost 15 years ago.
Whenever the staffers from the District Forest Office reach the village, they are chased away by the villagers. A monitoring team comprising CDO Narhari Baral and DFO staff had recently reached Bholentar but could not stop two persons who were busy constructing an illegal house inside the forest.
Police later arrested Bijay Lama and Ram Lama for building the house illegally. However, they were set free after District Forest Officer Dirgha Prasad Koirala directed the police to demolish the house and asked the two men to appear before the forest office.
Bijay said he had come from Chitwan’s Chhatiwan. “I did not know that the land here is government-owned,” Bijay added. Negligence on the part of forest officials and other concerned agencies has been attributed to increasing encroachment.
Of the total 29,400 hectares of forest area in Rautahat, 2,700 hectares is encroached upon. The data at the forest office show that 800 hectares of forests lies at Bholentar alone.
As the land in the Chure forest region is fertile and arable, human encroachment in the area has been increasing rapidly.
Koirala said human settlement at Bholentar could be disastrous for Chure region. “Our repeated efforts to remove the illegal settlers have gone in vain,” he said.
According to Koirala, a joint secretary-level employee, a large number of security personnel and Rs 50 million is required to remove 10,000 households and 30,000 people from Bholentar village.
A version of this article appears in print on November 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.