BARDIYA, June 14 - Nearly four hectares of land owned by the villagers of Surajpur area of Bardiya district has been taken over by the Indian side for as long as five years.The land located in the middle of Nepal-India border pillar no. 62/63 was reportedly encroached by Indian Forest Department and Indian Survey Department of bordering Nanapara, prohibiting the owners from earning their own land. The encroached land is owned by 86 people of Surajpur. The landowners have said that the Indian authority have set up a camp for its border security force Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) close to the encroached land."SSB men have threatened to gun us down if we try to till our own land," said Krishna Gopal Gupta, one of the victims. "The Indian side claims that the land belongs to them."
The victims say that the encroachment of Nepali soil by the Indain began in 2001. As the most part of the border area is covered with forest, the encroachment of land from the Indian side has gone unnoticed so far.
Sahadad Ali Dhobi, local of Gulariya Municipality-9, claims that more than 1.3 hectares of his land at Surajpur is under the Indian occupation since past five years. "I reached out to the District Administration Office and local political parties asking them to free my land but they did not hear my plight."Other claimants also say that the local administration did not take any initiative to free the encroached land.Current Chief District Officer (CDO) of Bardiya Bed Bahadur Karki said that he had no idea about the encroachment issue."The complaints must have been made to the previous officer. As far as I am concerned I have not received such reports whatsoever."Former CDO Keshav Sharma had told the victims that talks are underway with the Indian side on the matter but no step has been taken as of now to free the encroached land.
Two years ago, a joint survey team from Nepal and India had inspected the area along border pillar no. 62/63 and concluded that the area was disputed but no action was initiated to sort out the issue.
The district-based political parties have appealed the government to look into the matter immediately and find out a solution.