Army to conserve Chure region, says DPM

Kathmandu, February 26

The government is planning to deploy the Nepali Army to safeguard Chure region, the low elevation belt between the hills and Tarai, which is depleting due to rapid deforestation and illegal extraction of natural resources.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwor Pokharel today at a programme held to review the ministry’s one year performance said his ministry and President Chure-Tarai Madhes Conservation Development Board had been consulting on the modality of handing over responsibility of conserving the Chure region to the Nepali Army. The board was formed to protect Chure region in 2009.

Chure area with distinct geographical and bio-physical specifics covers 12.78 per cent land of the country. “Illegal extraction of resources in the chure region will lead to desertification of the region. So, we need to think about its conservation,” DPM Pokharel said, adding Nepali Army could play a vital role in protecting the Chure region.

Chure region is naturally sensitive. It is made of fluvial sedimentary rocks. All the rivers from Mahabharat range flow from this area to the Tarai. However, receding underground water levels, watershed degradation and ecological niche in and around the region makes the region more sensitive and fragile, according to a study conducted by Tribhuvan University in 2012.

From 2009, the government has given greater emphasis on the protection of Chure through President Chure Conservation Programme, but the ecological, geographical, and bio-physical conditions of the Chure region have been rapidly degrading. The study shows that increasing landslides and flooding and human intervention has made the Chure region more fragile.

“If we cannot save Chure now, we cannot save our country,” DPM Pokharel said, adding that in the near future the government would finalise the modality for conserving the Chure region. Nepali Army has been actively working on nature conservation.

According to NA, they will follow the directive of the government. NA Spokesperson Yam Prasad Dhakal said they would not say what they wanted to do for conservation of the region, but would follow the government’s order. DPM Pokharel also said the government was planning to deploy the Nepali Army to protect historical fords and pillars in different parts of the country.