Rampant encroachment of Guthi land in Jumla

Published On: June 19, 2019 05:00 AM NPT By: DB BUDHA

JUMLA, June 19: The land belonging to Chandannath Bhairavnath Guthi, a religious public trust in Jumla district, has been encroached upon heavily in recent times, with the locals building motorable roads and even private toilets on the land.

According to the records maintained by the district land survey office in 1996, only four guthis - Talium, Chandannath, Garjyangkot, and Depalgaun - owned land. Data from 2006 shows the presence of other guthi lands in Humla, Bajura, and Jumla's Rini and Jogibada, and Kalikot as well. However, the ownership of various plots of land have now been transferred to private individuals who pay taxes to the government in the name of Chandannath Bhairavnath Guthi. The land belonging to the guthi, it seems, can easily be sold.

The remaining guthi land has been leased out. The land ownership certificates show that 122,650 square meters of land has been listed as guthi land of which 64,304 square meters of land is in Dadakot, Bharatibada, and Simkhada of Chandannath Municipality. The land here has been encroached upon rampantly by building motorable roads. Similarly, there is 9,990 square meters of land in Garjyangkot, Depalgaun, Talium, and Mahat. There is 48,356 square meters of land near the Chandannath Bhairavnath Temple. The ownership of 3 plots of land remains unsettled, according to a non-gazetted official at the Guthi Committee, Ratna Prasad Acharya who says that the land revenue office was unable to retrieve the land in the government's name due to the Cabinet's delay to that effect.

The locals lament that arable land under guthi ownership has been encroached upon and the government has shown no concern to the matter. The chairman of the Guthi Committee, Krishna Bahadur Rokaya said that they are unaware of the condition of land outside Jumla. “Guthi land in the district has been encroached upon despite several attempts to protect it,” he said.

According to officials of the Guthi Committee, the District Administration Office and Chandannath Municipality haven't heeded the matter despite being reminded multiple times. After the encroachment intensified, a study team was formed under the coordination of Kali Bahadur Thapa. The team submitted a report to the Guthi committee on June 8, 2014. The report stated that houses had been built on 3,573 square meters of Guthi land in the then Garjyangkot and present Guthichaur Rural Municipality. According to the report, Daljeet Busha, Ganga Busha, Kali Bahadur Budha, Hansha Budha, Deep Bahadur Kami, and Purna Budha built their houses on the land belonging to the guthi.

The report also states that guthi land is being used for personal purposes in Kalekholi of Chandannath Municipality. Birkha Bahadur Swar, a local of Chandannath-3, has encroached upon guthi land to build a road leading to his house. Similarly, an electric pole has been erected at Chandannath-4 while one Prabin Shrestha has built a garden and a toilet. Paras Mahat, Binod Serchan, and Nabaraj Giri have built toilets, Padam Khatri has built a house along with a garden and a toilet, and Prabha Shrestha has built a garden. Til Sunar and Datta Sunar have built makeshift tents on the guthi land.

On December 6, 2011, the district land revenue office sent the details of encroachment of Guthi Land to the Guthi Committee which has warned that it will take action against the encroachers.

Recently, the Guthi Committee's Vice-chairperson Daya Khatri formed a "land search committee" to hold discussions with the stakeholders in the areas which are being encroached upon.

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