Armala village, near Pokhara, witnesses numerous sinkholes once again

POKHARA: With the onslaught of monsoon, sinkholes of various sizes have appeared in Armala village, near Pokhara, of Kaski district, once again.

Around one and half years ago, dozens of sinkholes had been formed in Armala, terrorising and displacing hundreds of local residents from the village.

Though land had stopped caving in after a few months, it has restarted recently, making the villagers anxious.

A local informed that at least 15 holes have appeared in the village in last three days.

Liladhar Acharya, another local and chairman of Armala Disaster Management Committee, said the villagers are going through sleepless nights amid fear of possible destruction.

The caving-in has put a private school and six individual houses as well as drinking water pipes, electricity and telephone lines and roads of the area at a high risk.

Locals have warned that possible destruction in the village may cause a blockage in supply of drinking water, electricity and telephone lines to the Lake City.

An expert team from the Department of Mines and Geology had recommended not to plant paddy - and any crop requiring irrigation - in the village. However, the villagers apparently overruled the recommendation and planted paddy recently.

They had left around 500 ropani field bare last year, owing to the recommendation. That had incurred a loss of around Rs 90 million, according to Acharya.

The geo-physical survey team had also concluded that excessive use of natural resources including encroachment on water resources was the major cause of the disaster.

A senior expert from the Department, Shree Kamal Dwivedi, said paddy plantation should be prohibited in the area for at least next five years.

The expert team had opined that locals could cultivate vegetables which require less amount of water, instead of paddy.

It has been learnt that a study around five decades ago had also recommended not to establish any human settlement in the area.