RANJHA, Nov 10: People residing in the buzzer zone of the Banke National Park (BNP) have wanted election candidates for the House of Representatives (HoR) and Province Assembly to take initiatives to keep them safe from wildlife attacks.
They complained of frequent cases of human-wildlife conflict along the settlement. They wanted election candidates from the Banke constituency-1 to convince them that they would take the issue seriously and contribute from their sides to resolve it.
People of Balapur of Rapti Sonari rural municipality-8 have complained that they face constant risks to their lives from wildlife. When they cultivate crops each time, they are not sure whether they could harvest them as animals from the park would destroy the crops at any time. The problem is perennial.
Bhuwan of Kusum of Rapti Sonari-1 who teaches at a local school complained that they just got words from leaders during elections only to be disappointed without the works kept. “During the previous elections, candidates vowed to ensure our safety from wild animals. Five years have elapsed, our situation remains the same,” he said.
Basant Oli of Balapur of Rapti Sonari rural municipality-8 urged the leaders, who reached out to them for votes, to make sure that they would ensure their safety from wildlife attacks. “We can hardly work at farms safely and regularly as we are facing constant risks from wild animals. We want the barbed wire fencing around the park area for safety.”
“A total of 11 candidates from the constituency are in the election race for the federal and provincial assemblies and we have got commitments in writing for an end to the problems,” ward chair Sohanlal Tharu shared with the RSS. He said they are united to find a durable solution to threats from wildlife no matter whoever wins the elections.
Settlements at Rapti Sonari-9 are mostly affected by wildlife assaults. Mahadeva, Buchapur Udyan, Paschim-Purba, Hatti Sarkhair, Khairi Guruwagaun, Kauwakanda and Dhakeri remain as vulnerable zones for the attack, it is said. The villages that have been affected by wildlife menace include Lauki, Bardapur, Chappargaudi, Baghkhor, Badarbhariya, Ojkhola, Kusum, Ranigajeri, Sauri, Gavar and Sikta of ward no 1 of Rapti Sonari.
Ward Chairperson Yam Bahadur Khadka said menace of wildlife animals has become the major problem of the buffer zone.
Chairperson of ward no 8, Shalikram Dangi, said voters have been asking candidates, who are reaching out to them in the course of election campaigns, to take initiatives to resolve the problems as settlements in Ovary and Balapur of ward no 8 are mostly affected by wildlife.
Villages of Kohalpur municipality 12 and 13 are situated in the buffer zone of Banke National Park.
CPN (UML) candidate under the House of Representative from Banke Constituency-1, Surya Dhakal, said he has prioritized a long-term solution to wildlife attacks as wild animals straying from the Banke National Park caused losses of lives and property every year.
Candidate Dhakal expressed his commitments that he would take initiative to make a policy for arranging life insurance policy worth Rs 2.5 million each family living at the most affected areas or the buffer zone and animal insurance worth Rs 500,000.
Similarly, the ruling alliance's candidate under the HoR from Banke Constituency-1, Maheshwor Jung Gahatraj, claimed that he earlier had taken initiatives to resolve the problems of wildlife after winning the 2074 elections, and he according to him has put this issue in priority this time too.