Land Development Schemes: Farmers’ Plight or Delight? - Cases of Sinamangal and Dibyeswori land pooling projects
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Rapid urbanization in the Kathmandu Valley is converting agriculture land in urban fringes to housing needs. The conversion is taking place mostly in haphazard manner in a self grown way and some in regulated way by land development scheme implemented by the government. Land development schemes as land pooling are seen in dual way; one as promoting regularised land development contributing to housing needs and the other as threat to arable land in the urban fringes of the Kathmandu Valley. The main stakeholder in the land pooling process, landowners, mostly farmers are the most affected one and it is supposed that most of the conflicts are generated during the process due to opposition of farmers. But it is necessary to understand their perception towards land pooling to arrive to its affect which compelled them for taking actions. So, the research departed with the Research Question: What are farmers’ diverse interests, objectives and actions in land development schemes in the urban fringes of the Kathmandu Valley? The research paper is divided into six chapters; Chapter 1: Introduction about the problem and the cases and the research perspective. Chapter 2: Research Methods, the chapter describes about the process of case study method applied during field study and the analysis framework. Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework related to the case. Chapter 4: Context, background characteristics of the case study area. Chapter 5: Case presentation and Case Analysis including findings and Chapter 6: Conclusions Sinamangal land pooling project area and Dibyeswori land pooling project area were chosen as cases. The two cases supplemented each other, Dibyeswori case was dealt as primary case and Sinamangal case as secondary case. Sinamangal land pooling project is already completed so the analysis in that case was related to the impact of land pooling to the initial landowners, farmers and the perception of new landowners/ house owners of the area towards land pooling. The analysis was done using SWOT Analysis framework, the government officials who were involved in the land pooling process were also interviewed so two SWOT analyses were done based on interviewees; i) original landowners- farmers and the new residents of the area and ii) government officials. The primary case, Dibyswori land pooling project is in stalled condition due to opposition from majority of farmers considering it as threat to their arable land. The project work halted due to conflict situation. The conflict has various dimensions so the Conflict Analysis Framework (CAF) was used to understand the various dimensions of conflict and the conflict generating factors. The analysis was carried out to contribute in making recommendations for mitigating conflict situation in Dibyeswori land pooling area and the possibility of land development schemes for fulfilling housing needs to be taken positively by the farmers so that the case shall be presented as model for urban fringes development and conservation of arable land. The study revealed the underlying reasons and the involvement / role of different interest groups, actors in the conflict generation in the project. The issue was not related to only landowners/ farmers and government agencies; it unfolded its link up to political situation, power relations and the inability of land development initiatives to fulfil the long term vision of the area. The discrepancy between the development vision of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality and the proposed plan of Dibyeswori illustrated the current development practice which is incapable to address the local needs, context, tradition and culture of the area which would lead to unsustainable form of development.