The landless people of Bardiya have announced a phase-wise agitation against the federal government, alleging it of delaying the formation of a district-level commission to solve their land-related problems. A federal commission was formed for the same purpose under the chairmanship of NCP leader Devi Gyawali in March 2020.
Agitators have accused the federal government of needlessly postponing the district commission’s formation under the pretext of the covid pandemic.
Kesh Bahadur BK, chairman of the Land Rights Forum Bardiya, rues lack of initiative to solve the problems of the district’s landless people.
BK cites the rivalry among NCP cadres to join the proposed district commission as the main reason for the delay in its formation.
Chairman BK also argues that a district level commission should be formed by identifying people who think more in favor of the landless than in favor of the land mafia. Reminding that the problems of the landless have remained intact even after the formation of many land commissions, BK says, “A new local-level commission should be immediately formed to solve our problems.”
“In the first phase, we will undertake a peaceful protest with our four-point demand,” BK adds. He warns that if their demands are still ignored, the agitation would intensify even amid the pandemic.
The main demand is formation of a district level commission to resolve land disputes in the area. Other demands include providing ownership certificates of the lands currently occupied by the landless and adhering to government’s ‘Land Use Policy 2076’ by making local levels more active in making and executing plans. They have also asked for an end to the excesses being committed on the landless people living near the forests, reservations and buffer zones.
A press conference and a meeting of municipality level leaders and cadres have already been held in the phase-wise agitation. If the Nov 20 deadline for commission’s formation is not met, a delegation of the agitators will visit the Kathmandu office of the ruling NCP. And if the demands are still not heeded, the agitators will take out processions and do sit-ins at district headquarters Gulariya, informs Homendra Thapa, coordinator of Bardiya Land Rights Forum.