Kathmandu, May 27 The government-formed commission to investigate cases of grab/misuse of public land across the country will recommend action against those involved in transferring public land plots in the name of individuals. A Cabinet meeting on May 20 had decided to form an all-powerful high-level commission led by Mohan Raman Bhattarai after cases of public land-grab came to the fore. Earlier, a government-formed committee had also concluded that 113-ropani public land in Baluwatar was illegally transferred to various individuals. Other members of the commission include Janaki Ballav Adhikari, Durga Kumari Dahal and Jagat Bahadur Deuja. The commission has been mandated to submit a report within six months after it begins work. It is likely to begin work tomorrow after its members take oath of office and secrecy from the chief justice, according to Gopi Nath Mainali, secretary at the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. The ministry, which had tabled the proposal in the Cabinet to form the commission in the first week of May, plans to publish information of the commission’s formation in Nepal Gazette tomorrow. As per the terms of reference of the commission, it will study possible grab/misuse of land plots acquired by the government at different times across the country in public interest, and recommend necessary action to recover such land plots. It will also study possible misappropriation of land plots owned by guthis across the country and recommend necessary action. The commission will recommend to the government what kind of action should be taken against individuals, office bearers or institutions facilitating or being involved in grab/misuse of land owned by the government and guthis, and land acquired or confiscated by the government. It will ascertain why recommendations made by such commissions in the past in relation to conservation of government-owned and public land plots could not be implemented, and recommend their implementation. The commission will also recommend policy, law, process, technology and structural reforms in areas of land management and advise how government documents of public importance could be kept safe for future reference. The commission, which has been allocated 15 staffers besides its members, will have its office in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, with countrywide jurisdiction. As per the commission’s working procedure, it will collect the information it needs within its jurisdiction from the general public, authorities concerned and stakeholders. It will collect necessary documents from the government offices, units or individuals concerned. It will study and analyse the acquired information and documents. The commission will also make on-site study and monitoring and interrogate or consult government officials, individuals or experts to ascertain the truth. The commission, however, will not study the Baluwatar land-grab case as necessary investigation into the case has already been done by a government committee and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police are investigating the case, according to Secretary Mainali. Earlier, it was planned that the commission would also investigate the Baluwatar land-grab case. The government suspects numerous other cases of possible grab/misuse of public land, road-side and river-side land, and plots owned by government, guthis, airports, universities, irrigation projects, banks, playgrounds and multi-purpose buildings across the country. A commission led by former secretary Ram Bahadur Rawal had in 1995 stated in its report the possibility of grab/ misuse of around 1,800-ropani public land, including river-side and road-side land, in Kathmandu valley. The Rawal commission had recommended that the government take necessary action to curb such activities. Government officials suspect around 1,200 of the 1,800 ropani have already been grabbed/misused.
Panel to moot action in public land-grab cases
Published: 12:15 pm May 28, 2019