DFO against construction of road through sal forest

- TIKA BHATTA, MANTHALI

Dec 7, 2014-

The District Forest Office (DFO) has objected to a plan to construct a road via a dense forest in the district, saying that the proposed road project will adversely affect the forest.  

The DFO voiced its concern by deeming the proposal put forth by the Division Road Office (DRO) and the Community Forest Consumers’ Committee to take the Manthali-Ramechhap road via a dense forest of huge sal (Shorea Robusta) trees near Batitar in Babiyakharka, Ramechhap-3 as “unnecessary”.

The dispute had come to the fore after the DRO proposed to take a section of the road two kilometres from the first turn at Batitar (and until the turn near Aarubote) through the sal forest and started survey and design of the road in the forest.

However, Kedar Poudel, chief of the DFO, Ramechhap, said the road currently in operation does not need to undergo such a major change. Stating that their intention behind raising objection to the plan was purely to conserve the forests and not create any kind of obstruction in development works, Poudel added that they had conducted a field survey in the area which showed that there was ample space to develop the turn without damaging the forest.

Meanwhile, a team comprised of representatives of various political parties, forest technicians and civil society leaders have come up with a plan to develop the road without posing a threat to the existing forest.  Govinda Prasad Ghimire, a civil society leader, who had participated in the field survey said that minor changes to the road would suffice and that there was no need to take the road through the forest as proposed.

“We have requested the DRO to conduct road mapping as per our proposal,” Ghimire said.

The latest survey conducted by the DFO has stressed that the road should fall under the national priority project’ and that the higher authorities should take the decision specifying the area of the forest to be deforested in case it become necessary for the road to go through the forest. There is no clear provision specifying whether the Manthali-Ramechhap road spanning 13 km falls under the national priority project.

The road project that had started last year to blacktop the road under operation since 14 years has been frequently delayed due to various disputes. Previously, there was a dispute regarding the total land covered by the road. The road is being blacktopped through the road connectivity project with assistance from the Asian Development Bank. 

Published: 08-12-2014 09:56

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