National

Haphazard construction of roads and aggregate mining deplete groundwater

- PROVINCE 1 BUREAU, BIRATNAGAR

Jan 22, 2019-

Settlements in various hill districts in Province 1 have been reeling under water shortage in the recent years as natural springs and groundwater are drying up rapidly.

People say natural water sources in the region are drying up due to haphazard construction of roads, aggregate mining and deforestation.

Moreover, they say water shortage has triggered mass migration of people from the hill districts to the Tarai plains.

At Khalle settlement of Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality-4 in Khotang, four water springs have completely dried up while the water level is depleting in other sources as well.

The water springs at Kandedhara, Kalitmati, Jukepani and Bojinikhola have dried up, causing hardship for the villagers.   

Netra Katawal, a resident of Khalle, said road construction and mining works were causing groundwater in the area to deplete.  

“We have repeatedly urged the municipality to take the necessary initiative to preserve natural water sources, but our pleas have gone unheard,” he said.

Milan Kasaju, another local, said at least seven families from Kandegaun had migrated from the village in the past few years due to water scarcity.

There are 19 households in the settlement. Their residents spend hours daily to fetch water.

Mayor of Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality Dipnarayan Rijal said the concerned local bodies were working towards addressing the problem of water shortage in their areas.

“We have allocated Rs 10 million budget to manage water in the area by lifting water from Sapsukhola. We have also urged the provincial government for support as the municipal budget alone is not enough to complete the drinking water project,” he said.  

Many settlements in Ilam district are also going through one of the worst spells of water shortage these days.   

“Haphazard construction works have degraded the environment. Heavy machineries are being used to build roads and other infrastructure in the name of development works, but the authorities concerned have not considered the impacts that their actions are causing to the environment,” said Dup Chhiring Kaji of Suryodaya Municipality.

Several settlements in the municipality are facing water shortage in the recent years. Even local wetlands are shrinking.

“Most of the local units have prioritised road projects, but most of them do not carry out study regarding its adverse impact on environment,” said Santosh Prasai of Taplejung.

He said the people’s representatives ignored environmental issues in the name of carrying out development infrastructures.

(With inputs from local correspondents)

Published: 22-01-2019 09:32

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