Farmers Demand Compensation For Crops From Pokhara Airport

Local farmers residing around the under construction Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) are worried about not getting adequate compensation for their corps.
According to the locals, they have been asking the project to compensate them for the crops they had planted on the land which has been classified for acquisition.
Earlier this week, the PRIA project team, with the help of police, destroyed the crops of local Hira Sinjali Magar which he had planted on almost 12 Ropanis of land. This sparked protests from the farmers who claim that acquisition without compensation will leave them without a livelihood.
“We had already been raising this issue with the stakeholders when the project destroyed Magar’s crops,” shared local social worker Hemanta Dhakal, saying that the authorities should be more sensitive with farmers during the difficult financial situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than a hundred farmers had gathered to condemn the destruction of Sinjali’s farm. They criticised the project for showing up with an excavator without even extending a formal notice.
Sinjali had been farming on the land for the last three years, leasing it from Budhi Bahadur Karki in 2018. Sinjali told The Rising Nepal that he had invested almost Rs. 1.5 million but did not get a single rupee in compensation from the project even after fulfilling all the requirements. “Two farmers got full compensation but no one else did. Shouldn’t the rules be same for everyone?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, Laxman Karki, resident of Chhinedanda, Pokhara Metropolitan City–14, recalled how when 32 Ropanis of his land was acquired by the then government in 1979 during the first phase of the land acquisition, he had even received money for the trees on the plot. “But the farmers have not received money for their crops which has made them dissatisfied,” he said.
PRIA is currently implementing the third phase of the land acquisition process. The first phase was implemented from 1979 to 2013. The second phase started from 2015 when construction formally started. The notice for the third phase acquisition was issued at the end of 2019.
According to co-chief of PRIA project Krishna Prasad Poudel, the project has been compensating the owners for their land but has no specific policy to compensate farmers who have been farming on leased land.