By Pushpa Raj Pradhan
How is the “loktantra” days in the country, one should not go for Google search as the newspapers’ headlines speak clearly.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli doesn’t want to see the face of those corrupt people but he is encircles by the very people. The government has not been able to locate the murderer of Nirmala Pant. The government is unable to locate the main person behind smuggling of the 33 kgs of gold via the Tribhuvan International Airport; the Italian contractor had to leave Nepal without completing the Melamchi Project as the company denied to pay 50 million rupees as commission against clearance of the bill worth 350 million rupees to the minister and secretary at the Drinking Water Ministry; the government wanted to protect those involved in commission deal in the NAC’s wide body aircraft purchase even declining the report produced by the Public Account Committee in the Federal Parliament. These are the few examples on good governance aspect of the government.
Since demise of the Panchayat system in 1989, Nepal has become haven for the mafias, commission agents, brokers, corrupt government officials and political leaders. Those political leaders having clean image have no presence in today’s political stage. Those, who are in present politics, are very corrupt and thus they are in power.
According to reports, within six years of demise of the Panchayat system the land-mafias have captured 1860 ropanis of land only in Kathmandu district. The land belonging to Lalita Niwas and other land in Kathmandu, acquired by paying compensation to the land owners by the then Panchayat government has been registered in different persons’ name through a setting in the Land Registration Office, Survey Office and the political leaders. The mafias have even manipulated the court.
This is not only the story of Kathmandu district as the mafias have been found capturing the government land nationwide.
The cabinet has decided to reacquire the land captured by individuals but is it possible, it is a burning question.
The captured land plots have already been transferred to different people’s ownership and most of the land plots are kept in different commercial banks as collator. If the government reacquires the land, many commercial banks will have to face trouble.
In the recent past, the government had formed a high-level probe commission to investigate on the 33 kgs of gold smuggled from the Tribhuvan International Airport. The probe commission has already submitted a report. The report has been kept impending by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli when he saw the names of those who had supported to his party were included in the report. In the government land capture case also there is involvement of different people closed to Oli. Therefore, it is believed that reacquiring of the government land from private ownership is rarely possible.
The story behind the Lalita Niwas:
In 2021 BS, the then government had acquired 285 ropanis of land from Kanchan Shumsher Rana, son of NC leader Subarna Shumsher Rana, by paying compensation. Out of 285 ropanis of land acquired by the government, 172 ropanis of land near the PM and Chief Justice’s official residences, known as Lalita Niwas has been captured by the land mafias under the setting.
Immediately after dawn of multiparty democracy, the then government led by Krishna Prasad Bhattarai has endorsed a cabinet decision for returning the land captured by the Panchayat government on the allegation of being involved in anti-national activities. By taking benefit of the cabinet decision, the land mafias have been able to capture the land which was acquired by the Panchayat government by paying compensation.
The mafias have even used political leaders, which has been disclosed after involvement of former finance minister and currently general secretary of the ruling party, Communist Party of Nepal, Bishnu Poudel. Eight aanas of land is found in the name of Nabin Poudel, son of Bishnu Poudel.
It is believed that Bishnu Poudel has been rewarded with the land as commission while influencing the cabinet led by Madhav Nepal. During Nepal’s tenure, Poudel had presented a proposal in the cabinet under which the Kathmandu Land Registration Office was authorized for transfer of government land to the individuals.
The Lalita Niwas case is just an example that how the land mafias and political leaders are capturing the government property. This is also the question of morale of the high-ranking officials and political leaders of the day. When they are sharing the government property for personal benefit, they can do any act against the nation’s interests. Why the Home Ministry issued the circular to the 77 district offices ordering to issue citizenship by descent to those kids of those people who have obtained citizenship by birth. The Ministry had issued such an order at the time when the citizenship amendment law was under consideration of the Federal Parliament. Later, the Supreme Court has given stay order against the Home Minister’s decision. However, the next bench of the Court has approved the Home Ministry’s circular. It is sure that the Home Ministry decision was intended to reward those migrated Indians with Nepali citizenship. This is the Indian design to transform Nepal into Fiji and annex Nepal as like Sikkim by inclining the Indian population with Nepali citizenship to a dominating size than of the genuine Nepali citizens. The citizenship issue has become more sensitive for Nepal as the Indian government is encouraging its citizens to settle down in Nepal’s Tarai districts. Some years back, Indian home minister Rajnath Singh had addressed to the Indian parliament claiming that India has serious concern over 15 million Indians were residing in Nepal. We can understand, to prolong the tenure in the government, PM Oli is trying to please his Indian bosses by rewarding those Indians with the Nepali citizenship.