CNP faces security challenge after decrease in water flow of Narayani River

Published On: February 2, 2023 03:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KAWASOTI, Feb 2: Conservationists have expressed concern saying that the security challenge will increase for the Chitwan National Park (CNP) from Nawalpur side after the water flow decreases in the Narayani River. 

A few kilometers down the bridge of Narayani at Narayanghat in Chitwan, Narayani diverges at Sikhraulighat. The part of the river flowing toward Nawalpur is called the Northern Bhangalo and the one flowing toward Chitwan is called the Southern Bhangalo. At this time, conservationists have expressed their concern saying that entering the CNP has become easier since most of the Narayani water has started flowing through the southern Bhangalo toward Chitwan.

Due to excessive excavation of the river around Setidevi Community Forest for development construction and Narayani embankment toward Chitwan, the flow of the river has deepened and diverted towards South Bhangalo. Conservationist DB Choudhary says that as the coastal area of Nawalpur becomes dry, it becomes easier for the poachers to enter the park.

“Earlier, it was not easy for the poachers because they had to swim first to cross the Narayani River. Currently, as there is less water in the northern part of the park, entering the park has become easier. This has increased the security challenges of the park,” he said, “Also the locals who depend on the river for their livelihoods have also become a problem.”

When the water flow is reduced in the northern Bhangalo of Narayani which flows through Gaindakot, Devchuli, Kawasoti in Nawalpur, the animals of the park are easily entering human settlements. According to Basudev Poudel, chairman of Lamichaur Consumer Committee, this will not only increase the conflict between humans and wild animals, but will also have a serious impact on wildlife conservation. Chairman Poudel says that the river has a long buffer zone and wild animals can be seen far and wide in the open area, so it is easy for the smugglers.

Conservationist Bishnu Adhikari says that the flow of Narayani water is very low in southern Bhangalo during the excavation of the river for development, which is not only a challenge to biodiversity but also to the security of the park.

“From Sikhrauli to Amaltari Ghat, the flow of water is very low. It can be crossed by walking somewhere, it has not only made it easy to enter the park, but the wild animals of the park easily enter human settlements,” he said, “This not only increases the human-wildlife conflict, but also imbalances biodiversity. It’s time to think seriously about the security of the park.”

According to Ganesh Prasad Tiwari, assistant conservation officer of Chitwan National Park, last week in Madhyabindu Municipality-2 in Sehri of Nawalpur, after two rhinos were killed by poachers, the security of the park has become more challenging and poachers are also becoming active, while conservationists are expressing concern that the park is seriously facing the problem of low water flow in the northern Bhangalo. He says that the park has taken forward the necessary coordination with the local level,  buffer zone consumer committees and stakeholders in order to return the flow of water to the previous level.

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