BISHNU PRASAD ARYAL
KATHMANDU: Authorities have lost track of around 1,500 ropani land belonging to the Pashupatinath Temple.
The Pashupati Guthi has a total of 4,673.5 ropani land under its ownership, while the Pashupati Development Area Trust has 261 hectares land, on paper.
“We are investigating the land belonging to the guthi,” said Govind Acharya, administrator at the guthi. “A total of 6,500 tenants working and living on the land owned by the guthi have to pay Rs 5.6 million annually. However, we are yet to ascertain the exact size of the land due to lack of records,” he said.
“We are going to update it as per the laws.” The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee says there are records that about 300 of the 4,673.5 ropani land belonging to the guthi is lost. It has directed the Pashupati Area Development Trust to take steps to reclaim its property.
Sushil Nahata, member-secretary of the trust, said authorities have lost track of about 1,200 to 1,500 ropani land belonging to the trust, despite possessing legal documents.
“We have started expediting the search for land owned by the temple. We have found about 150 ropani land in Kathmandu Valley that belongs to the temple,” he said.
The trust said that a seven-member probe committee headed by Secretary Sulochan Dangol has been looking into the case. “We are hopeful we will recover about half of the 1,500 ropani land after investigation,”said Nahata. “The land belonging to the heritage site is being misused by land mafia,” he claimed.
There is no record of hundreds of ropani land belonging to Pashupatinath. “This issue is under the ambit of Guthi Sansthan,” said Acharya. “They are still in the dark with regard to the land donated by devotees. We are only looking into the land related to the guthi.”
Land belonging to the temple, managed by Guthi Sansthan, has been transferred in the name of tenants, after a law was formulated about three decades ago.
The pagoda-style temple, believed to be more than 2,000 years old, has been enlisted under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple owns land in different districts including Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
Three dozen court cases
KATHMANDU: About three dozens cases related to Pashupatinath temple are pending in various courts of the country. About 30 cases are related to disputes over land and five others are concerned with controversy over rules and regulations. The cases are being heard at the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts and the District Courts, said Pashupati Area Development Trust.