Landowners apply for compensation as protests fizzles out
February 13, 2019 10:00 AM NPT
By: Yuvraj Bibas
DAMAK, Feb 13: Landowners, who were waging protest against construction of Nepal-China Eco Industrial Park on their land in Jhapa, have started to apply for compensation.
So far, 44 landowners have received about Rs 60 million compensation.
The government had started distributing compensation to landowners from January 3. However, landowners had been piling pressure on the government to increase compensation for land to be acquired for the project. They are now applying for compensation as their protest is fizzling out due to low turnout of landowners.
The government has allocated Rs 430 million to distribute compensation to landowners in the current fiscal year.
Sources landowners started applying for compensation after Industrial Area Stakeholders Committee organized a press meet against the protest of landowners. Madan Adhikari, chairperson of the committee, said: “Landowners have started filing application for compensation after we said in the press meet as people who are against development are waging protest.”
Rasilal Raut, an official of Industrial District Management Ltd (IDML), Damak, said many landowners are now applying for compensation. “Most of them are owners of agricultural land,” he added.
A landowner, who was also involved in the protest said, their efforts to raise compensation amount could not bear fruits due to low turnout of landowners.
Karan Singh Basnet, secretary of the protest committee of the local landowners, alleged that the government was only trying to capture their land for low prices. “We do not have any information about the park,” he said, adding that they will file petition at the Supreme Court to increase compensation amount.
The committee has been further dissuaded by lack of support from Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli – who hails from Damak, Jhapa.
The Damak office of IDML will have to distribute compensation to owners of 594 plots of land.
In the first phase, it plans to provide compensation for 430 land plots.
The industrial park, which will spread across 1,490 hectares, is a part of ‘Best and Road Initiative’ initiated by the Chinese government. The northern neighbor plans to invest Rs 333 billion in the park which lies in Damak Municipality, Kamal Rural Municipality and Gauradaha Municipality.
Industrial District Management Ltd, for the first step of the process, has provided compensation for 286 hectares of land in Kamal Rural Municipality.