Various studies show that locals have encroached upon Fewa Lake, but the government has not taken any measure to save the lake. Physical structures have already been built on the encroached area of the lake. Republica’s Pokhara correspondent Santosh Pokharel interviewed key stakeholders in Pokhara about the encroachment. Excerpts:
Illegally-built structures should be demolished
chairperson, Pokhara Tourism Council
The encroached land should be seized at any cost. Forcefully-captured land can’t be individual property. Public properties captured at other places should also be seized. The government should demolish any structures constructed illegally. The government should take a bold decision while taking action against unlawful acts. Fewa Lake has been encroached upon forcefully. The government needs to take strong measures to check such acts. Pokhara-Lekhnath Metropolis should act firmly to save Fewa Lake.
Implement the report
chairperson, Western Region Hotel Association
The encroachers are capturing Fawa Lake. The report prepared by the Fewa Lake Study Committee should be implemented if the lake is to be saved. Compensation should also be provided to the locals as stated in the report. Compensation should be given if it is ancestral property but all forcefully-captured land should be seized without providing any compensation. Their land revenue certificates should be seized. There is no other option but to seize land if the lake area was captured. The illegal capturing of land should have been stopped earlier but the government failed to do so. The government failed to check the encroachment despite knowing that the locals were encroaching Fewa lake.
Encroachment is the greatest crime
Ain Kumar Shah
chairperson, Prithivi Highway Bus Operators’ Committee
It’s too common to change the criteria for Fewa Lake when a new government gets elected. Compensation should be given to the locals if any they deserve compensation. Otherwise, the government should capture all the land encroached upon without further delay. It’s the government’s failure if it cannot check the encroachment despite knowing that locals are encroaching upon the public land. Those holding important positions seem encroaching upon the lake’s land. Encroaching Fewa Lake is the greatest crime. And those found involved in encroaching public land should be booked right now. The land should be clearly demarcated and preserved. Pokhara will lose its charm without Fewa Lake. Therefore, Fewa Lake should be saved to save Pokhara.
Government should not stay silent
Bishwa Shankar Palikhe, president, Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Fewa Lake is being encroached upon. Natural encroachment can be minimized. It’s the government’s responsibility to save Fewa Lake. Apart from natural disasters, the lake is also facing human encroachment. Hotels and restaurants have been constructed on encroached land. Fewa Lake is an income source for Pokhara. But unfortunately, we are killing its charm. Since we are making profit because of this lake, the profit-makers must save it. The government should come up with plans to save Fewa Lake. The encroached land should be seized without further delay. The government should not stay a mute observer. There is no other option but to seize land if it was encroached upon. Pokhara people should support this noble cause.
A single decision is enough to seize encroached land
Surendra Thapa Magar advocate
Legally, everything is clear. Various ministries are involved in conserving land. There are various authorities to oversee water, wetland and water-related affairs. The issues need to be dealt with an integrated manner. Apart from this, long-term and short-term plans should be introduced. The map of Fewa Lake should be made public to save it. The encroachers should be punished immediately. The government can seize the encroached land through a single decision any time. The government has the right to seize the encroached land and such willpower should be demonstrated.
The government should act tough
Som Bahadur Thapa
The government should provide compensation if it has to seize individuals’ proper land. Much has been talked about saving Fewa Lake at public forums. But nothing has been done in implementing the decisions taken to save Fewa Lake. The government should act instead of talking big. A land-seizure campaign should be started if the locals have captured the lake’s land illegally. The government should stand firm on this. As mentioned earlier, the government should act tough for saving Fewa Lake. And a plan needs to be introduced to seize all illegally-captured land.
The government should make strong move
Bharat Raj Parajuli, hotelier
Structures around Fewa Lake have to be legal. Obviously, the government should provide compensation to the locals if their ancestral land is to be acquired. But the illegally-captured land should be seized by the government. The lake will take its previous shape if its dam is raised two meters high. The government must take a strong move to this effect.
No alternative to demolishing illegal structures
CPN (Maoist Center)
With the successful local elections, Pokhara has already elected the chief of Pokhara Metropolis. The local government should now retrieve the illegally captured Fewa Lake land. The metropolis should dare to act against the encroachers. We are ready to support this. The bureaucrat-led local government could not save the lake in the past. Now, we have elected our own government. A large area of the lake has been encroached upon and our government should act tough to retrieve the captured land. In the past, structures were constructed illegally as there was no responsible person to check such activities. Now, we have the local government and it should demolish the illegally constructed structures without further delay.
Encroachers should be evacuated without political bias
president, Nepali Congress, Kaski
The encroachment of Fewa Lake often draws the locals’ attention. Various organizations are involved in its conservation. There should be a single authority to look after the lake. A responsible authority is required for conserving Fewa Lake. We should decide on how to resolve the issue of encroached land. Such land should be vacated without any political bias. The lake will disappear if we fail to seize the captured land.
Tej Narayan Adhikari
It’s the government’s responsibility to check encroachment. Some people are encroaching upon the area of Fewa Lake. This must end now. The Metropolitan City Office, District Coordination Committee, Valley Development Committee, District Survey Office, District Land Revenue Office and local administration should work together to control the encroachment of the lake. The Metropolis should speak loud and clear whether the structures around the lake were constructed seeking prior consent of the government or illegally. It is illegal if these structures were constructed without prior approval. The government should stay prepared to demolish the structures if they are constructed illegally. Anything can happen if the illegally constructed structures are not demolished right now.