Delay in appointing Chure board affects works

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 13, 2016-The delay in appointing the Rastrapati Chure-Tarai Madhes Conservation Deve-lopment Committee board has affected works in the ecologically crucial region.

The members of the committee headed by Rameshore Khanal, along with four other board members, had resigned en masse on November 26 citing differences with Forest Minister Agni Sapkota.

More than a month since their quitting, the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has been unable to make the crucial appointments. This has delayed policy decisions and implementation of the much-awaited Chure conservation master plan.

“Day-to-day management has not been affected but the absence of the board has hit effective implementation of the existing and new programmes,” said Annapurna Nand Das, joint-secretary at the ministry. Das, a member-secretary of the board, looks after the committee’s day-to-day affairs.

The immediate challenge is fast-track implementation of the master plan, which is in the discussion phase before it is sent to the Cabinet for final approval, said Das. The member-secretary leads the executive team while the board is responsible for devising plans and programmes.

The responsibilities of the board also include facilitating and coordinating with concerned departments and district-level partners in programme execution.

“There is the need for amending the programmes and activities in some districts in the central and eastern regions due to the political unrest. This cannot happen without the board,” said an official at the Forest Ministry seeking anonymity.

Since the launch of the President’s Conservation Programme in 2009, Chure, one of the most vulnerable biodiversity hotspots in the country, has received great attention and funding from the government. However, it became controversial for failing to protect the Chure hills from deforestation and degradation even after spending a billion rupees.

The Finance Ministry has allocated Rs1.97 billion for river management, flood management, forest conservation, livelihood empowerment and conservation of water resources this fiscal along the Siwalik belt. “The appointments are on the agenda. Hopefully, it will be done within the next couple of weeks,” said Uday Chandra Thakur, secretary at the ministry. The forest minister would decide on the matter after he returns from China later this week.

Published: 13-01-2016 09:02

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