Rautahat, January 2

It was found that the District Survey Office of Rautahat handed land ownership certificates for a total of 106 bighas of land belonging to the national forest to different individuals.

It was revealed that district survey office issued land ownership certificates to individuals and maintained a field book and map of the land owned by national forest located at Rangapur VDC on May 20, 2015.

When this daily reached the survey office for investigation, it found that the total land was divided into 23 kitta at the office’s directive and submitted to the Land Revenue Office on March 16, 2016 before registering it in the individuals’ names.

The survey office registered the government land in the names of people from Sarlahi, Okhaldhunga, Kathmandu, Ramechhap, Solukhumbu and Sindhupalchowk districts.

District Forest Office Rautahat, 10 years ago, had instructed the survey office that land under national forest could not be registered for residential purposes.

However, then Ranger Ram Kewal Yadav at Area Forest Office, Chocha, had signed the field book of survey office paving the way for registration of government land in individuals’ names in nexus with the land mafia some 11 years ago.

District Survey Office Chief Bharat Singh Airi admitted that his office had recommended the registration of the land in individuals’ names as 5 No Survey Goswar Office had split the land into various kittas. Airi said the Forest Ministry, DFO and CIAA had also recommended the registration of government land in individuals’ names.

District Forest Office Rautahat Chief Dirgha Narayan Koirala was working as an assistant forest officer then. Koirala had submitted the report to the DFO saying that the land registered in individuals’ names was forest land some 11 years ago.

When asked about the registration of land in individuals’ names, Koirala insisted land mafia would not be allowed to use the land at any cost. He pledged that his office would work to destroy the network of land mafia.

Shyam Chandra Jha, Nepali Congress leader of the district, demanded stern action against forest staffers involved in registering government land in individuals’ names.

The DFO had fenced the land with barbed wire at a cost of one million rupees and planted tress around it last year.