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Let’s protect Chure

- DIWAKAR SAPKOTA, Kathmandu

Mar 31, 2017-The Chure hills extend east to west along the south of the Mahabharat hills. The Chure range is 20-30 km wide and 1,000 km long, and stretches across the length of Nepal. The belt contains subtropical deciduous forests and a wealth of biodiversity. The region also serves to recharge the ground water in the southern plains. 

The Chure accounts for 12.84 percent of the country’s land area. Geologically, it consists of loose sedimentary rock like shale, slate and conglomerates which have the poorest infiltration capacity. These characteristics accompanied by heavy rainfall and tropical weathering mean there is massive erosion and severe flooding. River beds are rising due to erosion of the top soil. Deforestation continues unabated. Infrastructure projects carried out without proper coordination with the District Soil Conservation Office have aggravated disasters.

Excessive extraction of sand, gravel and stone has resulted in a grave situation. The exclusion of people from the decision making process with regard to resource use is also a pressing problem. Hill slopes, river drainage, tenure insecurity, weak governance, sinking water table, wildfires, immigration and conflict between resource utilisation and infrastructure development are other problems. This has led to a deterioration of the soil health and its carrying capacity in the Chure. Farmers here are forced to plant crops on sloping land and leave their farms fallow due to unavailability of water. Access to forest resources is crucial for the subsistence of the locals.

In 2014, the President Chure-Tarai Madhes Conservation Development Committee was formed in a bid to oversee and coordinate the management, utilisation and conservation of resources in the Chure in an integrated manner. It is presently operating in 31 districts in the Chure region. But the government needs to do more to ensure effective protection of the Chure. First, extensive research is required to classify the Chure according to severity classes. A clear policy for the conservation of resources needs to be formulated. An effective mechanism needs to be developed to promote participation and coordination between different line and sector agencies along with the concerned communities in the decision-making process. Indigenous knowledge about resource management needs to be promoted. The government should implement a special livelihood support programme for the people here. Priority should be given to downstream communities. More intensive participation of soil scientists, engineers, geologists and foresters in the PCTMCDC can curb the existing issues of land degradation in the Chure region to a great extent.

Published: 31-03-2017 18:29

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