Upper house passes Land Bill amid protest

Published On: September 18, 2019 08:19 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 18: The National Assembly on Tuesday endorsed the Land Related Bill (Eighth Amendment) through majority votes amid protest of the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC). 

The NC protested the provision that allows any industrial firm, academy, company or organization to keep land beyond the ceiling set by the government by paying some certain amount to the government authorities. This is, however, one-time provision.

Similarly, those entities holding land beyond the ceiling are allowed to sell their property should they decide to liquidate their property or dissolve the business. NC has called this provision a “policy corruption” to benefit interest groups.

NC lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said the provision to allow selling of the land meant for an industrial firm after a certain period of time is a “policy corruption”. While it is understandable to allow certain factories or companies to hold land beyond the ceiling, the provision to allow them to sell the land after receiving permission from the government is a policy corruption,” said Adhikari. 

The bill has set a ceiling of 11 bigha for tarai and 50 ropani in hill and 30 ropani land within the Kathmandu Valley. The government can allow those willing to run factories or any other kinds of organization to own land more than the ceiling by charging them extra.

In case of tarai, those holding land beyond the set ceiling need to pay Rs 100,000 per bigha and Rs 150,000 per bigha in inner tarai, Rs 50,000 per ropani within Kathmandu Valley and Rs 10,000 per ropani in other hilly areas. “We are against this provision as this allows transfer of land meant for a factory, for instance, to the name of individuals citing closure of the factory,” argued Adhikari.

Similarly, NC has expressed reservations over the provision to allow government to use open space for public purposes. Adhikari said the provision will only cause further shrinking of public spaces especially in urban areas under the pretext of building government offices or other uses. 

Land management minister Padma Aryal defended the provisions saying they promote industrialization.

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