Government develops master plan to conserve Chure region

Kathmandu, February 26

Minister of Forests and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet today said the government was all set to implement a programme worth USD 48 million for conservation and management of the Chure region.

Responding to queries by lawmakers in the House of Representatives, he said a master plan was developed for conservation of the Chure region.

“Problems facing the Chure region and issues of climate change in Tarai and Madhes will be addressed through the master plan. The government will dedicate USD 48 million received from the Climate Change Fund for the conservation of the Chure region,” he said. Rampant exploitation of the Chure land due to deforestation, grazing and logging have resulted in massive floods in the Jallad River in Dhanusha in the past few decades. The Chure hills are young and fragile.

Steep slope, high soil erosion and degraded land are common in Chure region during monsoon. Chure Tarai-Madhes Conservation Development Board has completed slope stabilisation, catch drain and cascade construction in the river. Construction of embankments on banks the Jallad River is also under way.

Minister Basnet said the government would provide skill training and establish micro-enterprises to improve livelihood of people in the Chure region as part its attempt to curb exploitation of natural resources. According to a report of Practical Action, each year the Chure region is being exploited at an alarming rate for gravel mining, sand, timber and other raw materials. The entire region is under threat due to gradual surge in the mining of sand, gravel and limestone not to mention haphazard and poorly engineered construction of infrastructure such as dams and embankments along the local streams. Deforestation and environmental degradation have already increased the amount of sediment flowing through the Chure region via intermittent streams.

Lack of national action plan to facilitate implementation of coordinated land-use planning has resulted in haphazard urban development and settlement across flood prone areas in Tarai. This in turn has led to increased exposure of infrastructure and communities to floods. Flood incidents during monsoon in Biratnagar, Birgunj, Itahari, Janakpur and other municipalities were due to poor drainage and waterlogging.

Urban services in emerging cities of Tarai need to be gradually improved, taking into account sustainable development practices and promoting integrated settlement in lowrisk areas to mitigate impact of floods, according to the report.