Laxmanpur Dam and flood affected people evicted forcefully by District Forest Office from Community Forest where they were taking temporary shelter.
Laxmanpur dam and flood affected 225 HHs of Gangapur VDC and 41 HHs of Holiya VDC are taking temporary shelter in Durgamata Community Forest as per the decision made by District Disaster Relief Committee on August 2016. However, government lacks to provide a permanent solution to these communities. Though, on 19 January 2017, Ministerial cabinet has decided and approved a procedure to provide grant for the construction of permanent houses to affected people by flood occurred in 2014. However, District Forest Office (DFO), Banke initiated forceful eviction by destroying their huts in 1 February 2017. Out of 41 HHs of Holiya VDC, who were temporarily residing in the community forest, DFO demolished 23 huts. The process couldn’t continued as the affected people started a protest in front of the officials.
District Forest Office has an argument that the community forest has been encroached by the flood affected people and it is illegal. However, Chief District Officer allowed them to take temporary shelter in the community forest to get rid of the sorrow by the flood. Written commitment made by CDO has been breached by District Forest Office without any alternatives. It seems that lack of coordination among government line agencies creating a bizarre situation to continue daily life of the people who lost their closed ones, land and houses, food and are displaced. Only the reason is Laxmanpur dam, constructed by the Government of India, which led Rapti River to change its course being a curse to the people living nearby the river.
District Forest Office claims that a 15-days ultimatum was given to leave the area but the people claim that government didn’t provided alternative solution. President of Laxmanpur Dam affected Struggle Committee Mr. Jagadish Bahadur Singh said, “Taking temporary shelter in the community forest is not by their choice. The people were displaced and seeking a safer place, District Administration Office and DDRC allowed them to live temporarily in the community forest. However, before forced eviction, government shall provide an alternative resettlement”. The affected people meet CDO in this regard and submitted memorandum to stop the inhuman activity by the government without any alternatives. They also urged National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take necessary step for the affected people by creating pressure to the government.
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