Public outcry over decision to lease public land to ruling party

Published On: August 25, 2016 01:10 AM NPT By: Ritesh Tripathi

BIRGUNJ, Aug 25: The decision of local authorities of Parsa to approve the lease of Rs 80 million worth of unregistered land previously used by Birgunj Sugar Factory to CPN (Maoist Center) has ignited widespread protests from the locals of the district.

A recommendation committee under the leadership of Parsa's Chief District Officer (CDO) Keshav Raj Ghimire, on Sunday, took the controversial decision to lease five kattha of public land located in Birgunj-17 to CPN (Maoist Center) for fifty years.

Local Development Officer Bishwa Prakash Aryal, District Survey Officer Nagendra Mahato, Birgunj Sub-metropolitan City's Executive Officer Bishnu  Aryal and Land and Revenue Office chief Gam Bahadur BK were involved in the decision making process.

“We haven't provided land to CPN (Maoist Center) of the district. The committee has only endorsed the application requesting approval of the lease.

The cabinet will make the final decision, not us,” said CDO Ghimire.

The recommendation from the committee has cleared any hurdles for the government to approve the lease. According to land brokers, the land recommended for approval is worth at least Rs 80 million as per the current price of land in the area.

Displeased with the decision, CPN-UML of the district organized a massive protest on Wednesday morning demanding to scrap the decision. They chanted slogans against CDO Ghimire and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. They picketed the District Administration Office (DAO) after the rally and submitted a memorandum to the CDO.

Likewise, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) of the district also protested the decision. UDMF leaders have warned of interrupting the district's administration works if the decision is not scrapped.

Babu Ram Kaushik, district leader of CPN (Maoist Center), was also dissatisfied with the decision and said that the party took the decision to lease the land without any discussions. “Some of the members decided to use letter pad of our party to file application to request using the land. That was not discussed with us. Hence, the decision to file the application itself was not made through official channel,” he expressed his displeasure.

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