Land Rules amended to benefit landless Dalits

Kathmandu, October 13

The 17th amendment to the Land Rules published in the Nepal Gazette on September 30 has stipulated a provision of providing land for landless Dalit families.

As per the provisions in the rules, landless Dalit families shall be provided land in the concerned local level where they have been residing. “If it is not possible to provide land in their indigenous local level, the nearest local level may be selected for this purpose,” read the rules. The rules have also set criteria for providing land for Dalits. In the case of municipalities and rural municipalities of mountainous and hilly districts, landless Dalit families shall be entitled to land ranging from 145 square metres to 290 square metres. Land to be provided for eligible Dalit families have been fixed ranging from 130 square metres to 190 square metres in municipalities and rural municipalities of Tarai districts. Landless Dalit families may be provided 130 square metres land in sub-metropolitan and metropolitan cities. “The government shall not provide land located in religious, cultural sites and risk-prone areas,” the amendment states.

Landless Dalit families are required to pay registration fee while transferring the land to their ownership. The amendment has also made a provision of an eight-member recommendation committee at concerned local level to conduct an inquiry for identification of land and to recommend it to the Government of Nepal to provide land to landless Dalit families. The committee is led by mayor or chairperson of the concerned local level and includes chief of district land revenue office, survey office and chief administration officer of the concerned local level.

It requires the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation to publish a 35-day public notice in a national daily, inviting application from landless Dalit families. The application should be accompanied by a recommendation letter from the concerned local level and a self-declaration that the concerned Dalit family doesn’t have land elsewhere in the country and can’t afford to buy land from its income or resource.

Following necessary examination and verification of the details and documents attached to the application, the committee shall recommend to the concerned ministry for providing land to the applicant.