KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 9
Farmers have raised voice against the government’s new law regarding land bank.
The Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation is preparing a framework for implementation of Land Bank Act. The framework has mentioned that all kinds of lands can be used for plotting.
Moreover, the landowners can deposit their land in the bank instead of providing it for farming due to which smallholder farmers are likely to be affected due to this law, said Nawaraj Basnet, president of Nepal Farmers’ Group Federation (NFGF).
“After the implementation of this law, smallholder farmers will not be able to take lands on lease for farming as the land bank law will increase the price of land,” he said, adding, “Even though the ministry has promised to provide land for farming, landowners will obviously look for profit.”
The law has mentioned that landowners can deposit their land in the bank if it is not being used, for which they will receive interest amount. Thus, Basnet said that people will be less attracted in using land for farming.
He further stressed that the land bank law is not beneficial for farmers and more favourable for industrial purpose. Due to this, the agricultural land will be affected, he added.
Meanwhile, All Nepal Peasants’ Federation has also expressed reservations against the land bank policy of the government.
Hari Parajuli, coordinator of the federation, said that the law puts small farmers at a disadvantage. “With this law, the government has now paved the way for plotting of fertile land that is going to reduce agriculture resources in the country,” he said.
He urged the ruling party to remember their promise of making the country self-reliant on agro products within five years during the local elections. “But allowing plotting of agricultural land is against their earlier pledge,” he said, adding, “This law will, in fact, promote land use for non-agriculture purpose.”
As Nepal has a large number of smallholder farmers, the land bank law will demotivate them, he added.
In August of 2019, the government had enforced the Land Use Act. The act had introduced a concept of land bank for the first time, classified land into various categories and given permission to authorities to impose fines if land was not being used for specific purpose.
The new legislation has also classified land into 10 categories — agricultural; residential; commercial; industrial; mining and minerals; forests; rivers, streams, ponds and wetlands; public use; cultural and archaeological; and others.