Kathmandu: Political parties, subject matter experts and government officials have objected to the government’s decision to open the export of stone, ballast and sand to increase exploitation while raising billions of rupees from donor agencies for the conservation of the Chure area.
They have argued that the export of construction materials will destroy the Chure region and turn it into a Terai-Madhes desert. They have stressed on the need to reverse this decision which is suicidal and against the interest of the country.
The risk of landslides has increased everywhere while excavating for stones, ballast and sand in the Chureka gorge, Bhavar and plain low-lying areas. A study of 2074 BS has shown that 10,833 large landslides have occurred in Chure.
Binod Bhatta, a forest expert tasked with drafting the ‘Chure-Terai Madhes Conservation and Management Master Plan’, remarked that the government has shown a double standard. “On the one hand, the government has been spending money every year to stop the destruction of the chure,” he said. In the budget statement of the coming fiscal year brought by the government, it has been said that trade deficit will be reduced by extracting stone, ballast and sand. Experts say the decision will destroy water storage in the Chure and Bhawar areas and waste the investment made so far for conservation.
Former Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Forests, Batukrishna Upreti, said that mistrust would be created in the donor agencies after the export of construction materials was opened. “On what basis do donors believe in bringing money by swearing to reduce the risk of the Chure area and forgetting everything and making their own decisions?” He said. The government had stopped the extraction of stone, ballast and sand from 1 July 2071 on the basis of the conclusion that the exploitation of chure was excessive. The government is working on the Chure Conservation Program as a project of national pride.