Kathmandu, August 20
The Forest Bill tabled at the House of Representatives provides for special provisions relating to ownership, use and demarcation of national forest.
According to Section 3 of the bill, ownership of national forest shall rest with the Government of Nepal. “No one shall transfer or exchange ownership of national forest, change land use or furnish it as collateral without the decision of the Council of Ministers,” it read.
The exclusive authority to demarcate the national forest situated in or spread over two or more provinces shall rest with the federal government.
Concerned divisional forest officer may acquire any private land, house, hut or other physical structure adjacent to national forest as per necessity, according to the bill. The person, whose land or physical structure has been acquired during demarcation of forest, will be entitled to compensation in accordance with the existing Land Acquisition Act.
The bill prohibited anyone to register land located in national forest. “If a person gets the land of national forest registered in his/her name, it shall be automatically invalid.
In case of registration of such land, concerned land revenue office or local level shall have to provide information thereof to the forest division office after removing its record from the register,” it stated.
If it is necessary in view of protection of forest, concerned divisional forest officer may declare any or all areas of the national forest as restricted zone for specific period of time, by issuing a public notice. A trail inside forest may be provided for mobility of people.
Section 10 of the bill stated that the federal government may implement land use plan in specific forest area for maintaining balance between sustainable protection of forest and development. For the purpose of management of forest spreading across two or more provinces, the federal government can formulate and implement integrated
or province-wise strategic plan by consulting with concerned provinces.
As per Section 122 of the bill, federal government will not use the forest area for the purpose of settlement or resettlement. It will protect, promote and manage wetlands situated within national forest for development of eco-tourism.
A version of this article appears in print on August 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.