BIRGUNJ, Jan 1: The residents of Chhapkaiya village have expressed worries over the possibility of Supreme Court Justice Cholendra Shamsher JBR being appointed as the chief justice.
According to the locals, he played a role in privatizing the greatly revered Chhapkaiya pond. While they have a filed court case to reclaim the pond, they now fear that they are sure to lose it if Rana becomes chief justice.
"We will keep fighting against such mafia. Everyone knows it is a public land. It is spread over a large area of land and belongs to the public. But the corrupt justice helped privatize it," fumed a local of Chhapkaiya, Rahaman Ansari. "But we will fight till our last breath to protect the pond."
Another local Pujan Mahato added that the pond was public from the time of his grandfather. So, it cannot be a privatized.
"During religious events like Chhat, we go to the pond. We greatly revere it."
The pond spread over three bighas of land belongs to the government as per the record of 1966. There are records that in 1991, the then member of Nagar Panchayat, Pramod Bikram Shah, had taken this land on lease. But later, it was learnt that the land was already transferred to Shah's name. When people started noticing it, there was a lot of hue and cry. The matter reached to the court and the case was decided in favor of the public. The district and appellate courts clearly stated that the land belongs to the public. However, Shah took it to the Supreme Court and a division bench that included Rana decided the case in favor of Shah in 2012.
But this did not stop the struggle. The enraged locals have been protesting against the verdict consistently. The locals say that they are ready to die but would not let the land be privatized.
"We are still fighting for it and will keep fighting. This pond cannot be privatized," said Sharada Devi, 60. "During every religious occasion, we need this pond. There is no other pond here around," she added.
As it is located near the main road of Birgunj, the land's rate is very high. It is estimated that it is worth Rs 1.5 billion.