RAJBIRAJ, Aug 18: Squatters have erected around 50 sheds encroaching on about half of the total area of the Rajbiraj-based Saptari prison.
According to the jail administration, encroachment of the prison area continues unabated due to lack of compound wall. “Around 50 huts have been illegally built in the area,” said Pramesh Jha, an official at the jail.
He said the jail administration has time and again asked the squatters to vacate the area but to no avail. “We have done our best to get the squatters out of the area, but they have been turning a deaf ear to us,” said Jha.
Last year, the Rajbiraj Appellate Court had ordered eviction of the squatters from the area. But the local law enforcing authorities were reluctant to implement the court order, said acting jailor Bhagwat Yadav. He said the jail administration first took the initiative to evict the squatters in 2001.
In 2001, then Chief District Officer (CDO) Dhrubaraj Wagle had attempted to evacuate the squatter settlement, but he could not succeed as he was abruptly transferred to another district.
Similarly in 2004, CDO Anandaraj Pokharel had formed a team comprising representatives of the district administration office, district development committee and Rajbiraj Municipality to evacuate the settlement. But even this effort failed when the squatters resorted to protests.
On the other hand, the squatters have demanded that the government provide them an alternative place to settle before being evicted from their current settlement.
Local political leaders said the administration should either provide them provisional land certificates or be relocated to another place.