Landless squatters left in lurch in Kailali

Dhangadi, August 18

Landless squatters shifted from Kailali’s Haraiya camp to Dhurjhanna of Dhangadi Sub-metropolitan City-17 are having a hard time making their ends meet.

Living at Haraiya camp for a quite a long time, squatters were shifted to Dhurjhanna around one-and-a-half months ago. “We used to mange two meals a day working as a wage earners at Haraiya,” said Hira Badi, a squatter, adding “We do not have work to make livelihood at the new place”.

Squatters lamented that they were having a tough time making their ends meet. They are also reeling under acute shortage of drinking water at the camp.

The new camp is located near the banks of the Shivganga River. Even light rain inundates tents constructed in the field. The camp also has no electricity supply.

Saubhagya Real Estate and Housing Private Limited had bought 21bighas of land inhabited by the squatters around six months ago at Haraiya. The same company purchased 59 kathha land at Dhurjhanna and shifted the squatters there.

Squatters say that they agreed to come to Dhurjhanna from Haraiya at the request of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders.

According to Hira Badi, as many as 91 families have come to Dhurjhanna till date. Badi said Shankar Karki from Pokhara had bought 59kathha land and settled squatters at the new place. “We were shifted here pledging one kathha land each. We are living in tents and the land has not been separated yet,” Badi said.

Karki provided tents and bamboo materials to build tents. Karki had six toilets built of zinc sheets for the squatters.

DabalTamrakar of the camp said squatters had come to the new place at the request of NCP (NCP) leaders.

“When the NCP (NCP) leaders agreed in writing to provide us a permanent settlement, we came to the new place,” Tamrakar said. He said that land had not been separated though.

When efforts were made to remove squatters from Haraiya, they had retaliated. As many as 48 squatter families are still living at Haraiya.

Dabal recalled that squatters had voted for then CPN-Maoist Centre twice as they had pledged to provide land. “This time, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has pledged to give us land. Let’s see what happens,” Dabal wondered.

Squatters claimed that then CPN-Maoist Centre leaders were involved in settling and removing their settlements to meet their vested interest from one place to another.