Decades of apathy results in landlessness

Kailali, February 22

More than 200 families of two villages in Hashliya VDC, Kailai, have been without land ownership certificates for three decades.

Residents of Shivratnapur in Hashliya Ward No 5 and Mohanpur in Ward No 4 that share the border with India have not possessed land ownership certificates for years. Both of these villages lie beyond the Mohana River.

Shivnagar and Mohanpur are home to 150 and 87 families respectively, and all the inhabitants belong to the Chaudhary community. Though they have been living in the area for decades, they do not possess land ownership certificates and this has them worried.

The community residing in the area had migrated from other places of Kailali and Dang after they quit working as kamaiya in 1983. Each family occupies at least one to two bigaha land in the area.

Local Tejram Chaudhary said they had purchased the land from then senior of the village Shivlal Dagi. “We have been paying Rs 50 per kathha land tax to the VDC, but we do not have land ownership certificate,” Dagi said. He complained that repeated efforts to procure the certificate had gone in vain.

Another local Khadga Bahadur Chaudhary said it was a sad thing that they were deprived of their rights despite being freed from the Kamaiya system. “Neither do we have the land certificate, nor the identity cards of freed Kamaiya,” Chaudhary added.

He also lamented the lack of a leader that would voice their plight to the government. “At the time of election, party leaders promise to provide land certificates. Bur once the poll is over, they never return to the villages,” Khadga said.

The Chaudhary community’s woes, however, do not end here. The locals bemoaned that a herd of wild animals had entered from Dudhuwa National park, India, and destroyed their crops.

Similarly, the villages do not have adequate educational institutions. As there is one primary school in the area, students have to visit Hashliya bazaar for lower and secondary level education.

Since Hashliya bazaar lies beyond the Mohana River, students have a hard time attending classes during monsoon season for want of bridge over the river. Asha Chaudhary, a tenth grader at Dipendra Secondary School at Hashliya Bazaar said many students did not attend classes during monsoon. Due to difficult geographical terrain, locals from villages are deprived of education, health, and jobs.

The locals have to rely on India for almost everything, said Sanjiv Kumar Chaudhary. He said construction of a cemented bridge over the Mohana River would help resolve the problems to a large extent.