KAILALI, August 14: Haphazard road construction and deforestation has led to high risk of landslides in the Chure region. The entire settlement area of Chure Rural Municipality is at high risk of landslides due to the increasing excavation in Chure region.
After the announcement of Godawari as the capital, the Chure region has been through encroachment and haphazard road construction has contributed to the high risk of landslides. Nigali, Khairala, Sahajpur Mohanyal, Pandaun, Godavari Rural Municipality has been combined to make Chure and Mohanyal Rural Municipality. In recent times, rural municipalities have been constructing roads haphazardly without any study which has put the settlement areas at a high risk of landslides. Kimtola, Taalo Pakhir, Riteykhola, Saaleybasa, Milanpur, settlement near Thuli Gaad, Mala, Jaljala, Gajar, Titirey, Gaujeynan, Jagati of Khairala, Salley and Garbha are the areas at high risk of landslides.
The Provincial Assembly of Sudurpaschim decided to make the capital in Teghari forest of Godawari Rural Municipality which was heavily criticized by environmentalists. Teghari forest is connected to the Godawari area which is also one of the most religious tourism areas lying at the foothill of the Chure region. Increasing human settlement near Godawari area with deforestation and construction of roads without any environmental impact assessment report by local government and their dependence on dozer drivers has led to a high risk of landslides in the Chure region.
Although the Sudurpaschim Province government has mentioned in the Red Book and allocated a budget for Brahmdev of Kanchanpur to Chisapani of Kailali and its foothill area and named it tourism biodiversity, still the Chure region has been facing encroachment. According to Yadav Bhandari, secretary of the Federation of Community Forest Users, a gradual increase in human settlement and in the name of providing roads to settlement area with haphazard use of dozers has put the settlement area at high risk of landslides. Bhandari said, “As the Chure hill is one of the sensitive and weak hills, an environmental impact assessment must be carried out before any developmental works, but the scenario is completely different here; dozer driver’s haphazard work has led to high risk of landslides.”
The provincial government’s plan to construct a road in the foothills of Chure has led to tension due to the destruction of Chure and around its area, said Dandi Raj Subedi who has been working for the conservation of forest and environment. According to Subedi, the construction of roads in the foothills of the Chure region would lead to prolonged deforestation and a route for timber smuggling.
“Constructing roads in-between forests would contribute to timber smuggling,” he said, “The use of excavators for constructing roads will increase the destruction of Chure as well as increase the high risk of landslides.” During the rainy season in Chure, Khahare Khola has resulted in destruction of humans and property and creates a high risk for the settlement area so it is very necessary to build an embankment in that region. According to Subedi, Chure is in itself a sensitive area and to conserve it, the construction of embankments should be managed.
Every year due to landslides, the majority of villages in Chure and hundreds of families get affected. According to Subedi, the Chure region must be conserved in appropriate time otherwise there won’t be any existence of Chure. “It is very important to stop deforestation in the Chure region, excavation and control of forest fire in Chure,” he said, “The provincial government and federal government must initiate the construction of embankments and stop haphazard construction of roads to save the Chure region from high risk of landslides.”
According to Prem Poudel, geologist of the President Chure Terai-Madhesh Conservation Development Board, the government has announced the Chure region as a conservation area. So, carrying out any development works, they must take permission from the Chure Board. But in the case of Kailali, no local government has asked for permission to construct a road in Chure.
“The local government has constructed a road in Chure but till now any local unit from Kailali has never come to us to get the permission for constructing a road,” Poudel said. Carrying out development works without any environmental impact assessment in the Chure region results in high risk of landslides. The use of heavy equipment in constructing a road directly affects Chure, he said. “If they have to construct a road then they must perform an environmental impact assessment and get permission from the Chure Board.”