House panel asks govt to take measures to protect Fewa Lake

Published On: September 26, 2017 07:22 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 26: The Parliamentary Environment Protection Committee has instructed the government and concerned ministries to take immediate steps for the protection of Fewa Lake, which is facing encroachment of late.

A meeting of the committee on Monday issued such directive to the government and stakeholders and asked them to implement the suggestions and recommendations given by different probe committees with high priority. 

Issuing a statement after the meeting, the committee directed the prime minister’s office (PMO), different ministries including Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Population and Environment to make detailed studies on the activities being conducted around the lake including operation of hotels and lodges. Previous governments had formed probe committees in a bid to protect and manage Fewa Lake.

The committee has also issued a separate notice to the PMO to form a high-level committee to conduct a detailed study, investigate and implement the ongoing climate change issues.

It has been learnt that lands around the lake, which is listed as a Ramsar wetland conservation area, has been registered as private properties and the area of the lake has also shrunk from 10 square kilometers in 1961 to 4.20 square kilometers in 2008.

Experts have said that the depth of the lake is also decreasing, and it is now 18 meters, down from 33 meters during the previous survey held in 1974.  The report states that the lake could see the maximum shrinkage in 75 to 100 years if the concerned bodies fail to give proper attention to its conservation.

The then prime minister Baburam Bhattarai-led government had formed a high-level probe committee to investigate the land encroachment of Fewa Lake. The committee later submitted a report and recommended confiscation of land ownership of about 950 people. Among those people, about 700 had their lands inside the Fewa Lake Conservation Area.

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