Bills on forest, environment and land presented

Kathmandu: Three separate bills on forest, environment protection and land have been tabled in the meeting of the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, today. 

Minister for Forests and Environment, Shakti Bahadur Basnet presented the 'Forest Bill, 2075' and the 'Environment Protection Bill, 2075'. 

Similarly, Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Padma Kumari Aryal, tabled the 'Bill Related to Land (Eighth Amendment), 2075'. 

Presenting the bill on protection of forests and environment, Minister Basnet said the bill has been introduced to face the challenges posed by climate change and for providing compensation for pollution.

Lawmaker Prem Suwal tabled a protest note against the bill and stated that although it was mentioned in the budget statement in 2072 that the industrial zone would be removed from Kathmandu, it has not yet been implemented contributing to increasing the environmental pollution in the Kathmandu valley.

He demanded that provisions should be made in the bill itself specifying which of the three governments – federal, state and local – should be monitoring and what works they have to do regarding the monitoring of the industrial areas. Suwal added that the government's policy of settling people in big cities was wrong.  

"Attempts are being made to wipe out 100,000 ropanis of agricultural land in the north of Bhaktapur and in the north-east of Kathmandu in the name of developing a big city. Arrangements should be made so that there is adequate agricultural land to support the population of a particular area," he insisted. 

Presenting a protest note on the Bill Related to Land, lawmaker Ekbal Miya said 1.3 million hectares of land has been encroached upon and called for the proper resettlement of the landless squatters and the unsystematic settlements.  

The protest notes presented by lawmakers Suwal and Miyan were rejected by a majority. Following this, all three bills were presented in the meeting of the House. 

Replying to the queries related to the Land Bill put by lawmakers, Minister Aryal informed the House that preparations were being made to form a high-powered commission for theland management. 

The next meeting of the House of Representatives will take place at 1 pm on May 21.