Dhangadi, May 5
It has come to light that consumers themselves put forests on fire in the belief that grass grows well after a fire and it will be easy for them to graze and collect fodder for their cattle.
Bikram Bhat of Malika Community Forest Consumers’ Committee, Doti, said it was necessary to set fire to the forest for better grass and fodder.
However, some people with ill-intention also have been responsible for the raging wildfire in the forests.
Bal Bahadur Balayar, Nepali Congress central member and a parliamentary member of the party, said that they got information that some contractors lured consumers to set the forests on fire.
Earlier, contractors and officials at the forest office had been pressurising with the demand for permission to fell timber, but when District Forest Office refused, the consumers torched the forest, said Balayar.
People have not been permitted to fell timber for the past five years in Doti district.
Many community and state-owned forests in Doti, Dadeldhura and Kailali have been ablaze in recent days. According to far-western Forest Directorate Dhangadi, more than 90,000 hectare forest area was burning till yesterday.
Of this area, more than 10,000 hectare is covered by community forests.
District Forest Office Doti Ranger Suresh Rokaya said that many consumers believed that until they set the forest on fire, no good grass and fodder would grow for their cattle.
“As we have not been able flush this misconception from the minds of consumers, forest conservation has been a great challenge.
Hence, we are firm on taking action against people if they are guilty,” said Rokaya.
A version of this article appears in print on May 06, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.