Jun 132015
 

Textbook distribution: a chain of commission

Government is supposed to pay compensation to landowners

It’s not all rosy when the dozers plough through the land of the locals. Indeed, the value of the property may go up once the road opens. But in the meantime, the only way to avoid loss is by way of receiving government compensation. To be sure, the government usually pledges a formally calculated compensation – ropani by ropani – to affected land owners. However, this promise is not always kept. In one example from the Mid-hill Highway construction, several hundred locals – even ones displaced by the road – were left without any compensation at all! The funds were allocated, but nobody saw it on the receiving end. The local reaction? Protest and agitation, stalling construction work for weeks!

Road cutting through farm land: every ropani counts

Road cutting through farm land: every ropani counts

How common is expropriation without compensation? Well, here’s another case from the Kathmandu-Hetauda highway: officials pledged to pay the affected landowners eventually, but curiously halted the payments despite funds in the budget. From first hand experience, we’ll add a third example, investigated in a VDC not far from Kathmandu. Here dozens of locals were left with only partial or no compensation at all. Local officials demanded half or more of the alloted money as “commission” from each landowner; and those who didn’t actively ask for the money were not offered anything either. Protest and agitation? Well, not in this case. So few outsiders would ever come to know.

But is expropriation without compensation, then, common? Only thing to conclude is: it happens.

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