SARLAHI: Landless people have started erecting huts in the public land in Dhungrekhola VDC in Sarlahi district.

The landless people, led by Sarlahi chapter of National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), had seized the public land on the bank of Dumazor river three weeks ago. NLRF central treasurer Saraswati Subba said five bighas of land on the bank of the Dumazor river had been distributed to the landless people.

The locals have been occupying 15 bighas of land in the same place for over a decade.

“The land was distributed to 84 landless families on the basis of the number of their family members,” NLRF Sarlahi chairman, Gamhbir Singh Pakhrin, said. He also said the landless people were forced to erect huts after people started encroaching the public land.

People from different places in the district, including Karmaiya, Murtiya, Dhungrekhola, Hariwan, Ghurkauli and others are erecting huts in the area. Most of them are Dalits, indigenous nationalities and Muslims.

“I got 10 dhur of land. I will soon start constructing a house in the plot,” a landless man said.Santa Bahadur BK, a landless from Karmaiya VDC, said he had visited the commission to solve squatters’ problems many times but to no avail. “I visited the commission regularly for more than five years. However, I could not get land,” he added.

Saying that the list of squatters in Sarlahi district is very long,

Madan Pariyar, an NRLC volunteer said, they had been looking for land to settle the landless people.

Though the landless people have been erecting huts in public land, local administration are unaware about the incident.

“We have received no information about the seizure of public land in Dhungrekhola area,” Assistant Sub-Inspector at the District Police Office Mahendra Shah said.

Similarly, locals have also complained about illegal felling of trees and encroachment of land in Sagarnath Forest Development Project in Murtiya.

However, the NLRF has denied its involvement in the incident.