SURKHET, Feb 20: Nepal Rastriya Primary School in western Surkhet that once had around 10 bighas of land of its own is now shrunk to a small plot. While there is not enough space left even for students to play, the earlier open area is now fully occupied by infrastructures, vegetable and crop farms. In 2006, some locals had decided to give the public land they had been using to the school located at Chyurikhet at Panchapuri Municipality–2, making it one of the spacious schools in the district. According to the school's Principal Dil Bahadur Gharti, the school is now struggling to recover the land.
Reportedly, a total of 24 people including Dal Bahadur Sunar, Gambhir Ale, Amarsingh Ale, Rudra Bahadur Salami, Harsha Bahadur Ale and Dal Bahadur Suar have occupied the land for farming and other purposes.
"The school had received the land from the locals, but encroachment began right after a year of the land was transferred to the school," said Principal Gharti.
It was on 5 May, 2006 when the school received some 10 bighas of land from the locals through a joint decision. Principal Gharti lamented that the school now has just a few classrooms in the name of property. "Our school building has six rooms. That's all we now have. Our children cannot play. There is no space," he said.
Established in 1989, the school was located three kilometers away from where it stands now. Following the growing number of students in the school, guardians decided to relocate it.
"And then they also decided to give the land while the District Education Office and the then VDC office provided budget to build concrete classrooms," narrated the principal.
There were around 100 students then and the huge land was more than enough for them to play. Even now the number of students is increasing. However, the school doesn't have space even for the students to play.
"The encroachers have erected cottages and are doing farming on the school's land. They won't move, they are going to capture it forever this way," Dal Bbahadur Rana, former chair of the school management committee, showed concern. "Some have been occupying the land under the guise of flood victims," he added.
Back then, 67 people in the locality had taken the decision to give the land to the school. They had done it for the future of the school. "Now, it's outsiders who have come here and encroached upon the land," Rana fumed.
Even though the school is now trying to retrieve the land, the encroachers are not going to listen to it unless the administration uses force, noted Rana. But the administration has not paid heed to the issue, he said.
Meanwhile, the District Administration Office has initiated investigation to the issue.