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Case study of Giribandhu Tea Estate

The national property which is being enjoyed by Giribandhu Tea Estate has been protected by the judgment of the Supreme Court. It has also raised ethical questions on the then parliament and cabinet members who amended the law to facilitate the sale of land exceeding the limit and speculative lease.

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The Supreme Court has curbed the practice of profiting by selling the land occupied by Giribandhu Tea Estate in Jhapa under the name of sattapatta. As the Birtamode market expanded, the land of T Estate was likely to be sold as a valuable asset, so the bartering game began.

Case study of Giribandhu Tea Estate

By "influencing" the political power as well, the Supreme Court has protected the national property when the law was amended by the parliament and the same amendment was approved by the council of ministers. The judicial interpretation of the recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Giribandhu Tea Estate is going to become an important example for the protection of other lands that are exempted from delimitation.

The land of Giribandhu Tea Estate has been given as a limited concession for tea industry purposes as per Land Reforms Act. In the Land Reforms Act introduced in 2021, there was a provision that no more than 28 bighas (including homesteads) of land in Terai can be held in the name of a person and his family, according to which the land in excess of the limit should be nationalized. The Act has exempted the land occupied by agricultural industries, establishments, and public institutions.

On that basis, Giribandhu Tea Estate got a five hundred bigha exemption from the government on 11th December 2029. The Act states that land exempted from delimitation can be used only as long as it is for the purpose for which it is intended. That is, after the purpose is over, the land automatically comes under the ownership of the government. But when the Birtamod market on the East-West highway spread and reached T Estate, the Giribandhu supporters and gangs became active to sell it as ghderi. They have succeeded in influencing the political power in this matter by the decision of the Council of Ministers and the amendment of the Act by the Parliament.

The 51 bigha land of Tea Estate was sold in 2060 with the decision of the Council of Ministers, on which a bus park and private houses have been built. While efforts were underway to clear the way for buying and selling more land, the interest groups and businessmen had completed the transaction documents in 2073. Accordingly, about 500 people were asked to give land. After the land lease process was started, a writ was filed in the Supreme Court on January 14, 2075, and after hearing it, the Supreme Court issued an interim order on February 6, 2075, declaring it contrary to the Land Reforms Act 2021.

After that, the then KP Sharma Oli led government started the law amendment process, according to which the law was amended in the year 2076 by the parliament, in which 'if it is dissolved for any reason or goes into liquidation, for the purpose of dividing the liability, it is considered to be an obstacle to the sale and distribution with the approval of the Government of Nepal. "No" has been provided. Along with this, a provision was also inserted that the government may grant approval for lease or transfer to another place as per the conditions prescribed by the government.

Then on 13 Baisakh 2078, the Oli-led cabinet gave approval to lease about 343 bighas of tea estate. Soon after, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court saying that it was a political maneuver. Then on Chait 4, 2078, the constitutional bench gave an interim order to stop the speculative lease. The full text of the decision made on January 24 has been released on Friday.

The Supreme Court has decreed that the previous decisions regarding the exchange of land occupied by Giribandhu Tea Estate should be annulled. The court has also ordered to identify and immediately maintain the land in the name of the Nepal government if the land is not used for the purpose or is kept empty (barren) as mentioned in the case of granting demarcation exemption. The Supreme Court has concluded that the permission or approval given in relation to the land lease to indirectly do the work that cannot be done directly is completely unfair and the concept of limitation made by the land law is counterproductive.

The Supreme Court has not said that such land exceeding the limit cannot be registered, but has set strict conditions for that. In order to grant approval for land lease or transfer, technical analysis, ensuring that the proportional area of ​​the land to be leased is available at the same location (in the same plot), the proportional value of both the leased and leased land, ensuring that the number of jobs provided immediately does not decrease, environmental impact assessment should be determined. It has been said. Such a condition is certain to prevent the practice of selling land by exchanging it for financial gain.

Giribandhu Tea Estate has been enjoying the national property has been protected by the decision of the Supreme Court. It has also raised ethical questions on the then parliament and cabinet members who amended the law to facilitate the sale of land exceeding the limit and speculative lease. On the other hand, returning the bond taken from the common people while promising to get the land has become a complicated issue. It is necessary for the government to conduct further investigation into the attempt to embezzle the land of T estate and make those involved responsible. The government's investigation can also prepare the environment for the return of the common people.

प्रकाशित : जेष्ठ १, २०८१ ०६:२९
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