Bajura, November 14
With no police outpost or forest office nearby, Bajura’s Himali Rural Municipality has become a safe haven for poachers and herb smugglers who are having a field day.
“As the area beyond the jurisdiction of the police post and forest office, illegal activities have increased there,” said Himali Rural Municipality Chairperson Govind Bahadur Malla.
Chairman of Ward-1 Laljit Thapa of the of the rural municipality also informed that poaching had peaked these days. “While poachers are openly hunting wild animals, herbs are being smuggled,” he said, adding that illegal activities were rampant in Gumba, Kot, and Bamu areas of the rural municipality and nearby areas.
Chairperson of Ward No 3 Jaidhan Rokaya said, “Smugglers come with all sorts of weapons. Though we want to stop them, we can’t as we fear for our lives,” he said.
“The Sain mountain area has become a smugglers’ paradise. They hunt wild animals and smuggle them to China,” he said, complaining that the administration had done nothing though the local authorities had frequently informed about the ongoing illegal activities.
The problem of poaching and herb smuggling has worsened after the police post based in Yuna of the rural municipality, was shifted to an area of lower elevation eight years ago. The shifted police post in Kawadi, Ward No 4 of the rural municipality is one day’s trek from Yuna.
“For one, Kawadi police post is very far away from where illegal activities are happening and it takes two to five days to reach there from Kawadi. Secondly, there are only seven police personnel stationed in Kawadi,” said a local.
CDO Chetraj Baral admitted that providing security and maintaining law and order in the area was difficult due to difficult terrain. “I’m in contact with the home ministry discussing how to manage security in the area,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on November 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.