Squatters lay claim to pvt property

BIRATNAGAR: Some persons in the guise of squatters have constructed 50 huts in private plots in Babiyabirta VDC-4 in Morang district. They announced the seizure of the land on March 17 and started constructing huts from April 28.

Demanding the protection of their land, 25 owners of the land filed a joint application at the District Administration Office, Morang, on March 23, but to no avail. The UCPN-Maoist has already clarified that it is not involved in the land seizure. Issuing a press statement on March 27, the party said it do not have any immediate plan of resettling the squatters and landless. It had also demanded the local administration to take action against the persons or groups involved in the forceful occupation of private property. The land owners say that the chief district officer Shashi Shekhar Shrestha is keeping mum on the issue even as the construction of huts is in progress.

"We have been facing difficulty in taking necessary action against the land encroachers as the CDO is keeping mum on the issue," a police officer said, requesting anonymity.

The Home Ministry has also drawn the attention of CDO Shashi Shekhar Shrestha. It has directed Shrestha to do the needful to protect private property. However, Shrestha has been defying the Home Ministry's instruction, saying that the squatters can stay in public land, according to the land owners.

Officials at the Morang DAO said that the CDO was not competent to carry out his duties.

The so-called squatters have also felled more than 3,000 bamboo stem to construct huts.

"The District Police Office, Morang, had directed the Rangeli Area Police Office to study the problem. However, the police could not solve the problem as Police Inspector Rajesh Thapa conveyed wrong information to the District Police Office," the victims said. Thapa had informed the DPO that no huts were constructed in the private land. The victims said that they had filed complaint against local Maoist cadres Naresh Karki and Rajendra Mandal for their involvement in the land seize. However, no action has been taken yet, they added.Morang SP Devendra Subedi said the case should be solved by the CDO.