Deforestation on the rise in Pathivara area

Taplejung, November 24:

Deforestation in the Pathivara area, which lies on the lap of Mt Kanchajunga, is on the rise these days.

Pathivara is a famous religious site and is considered an important tourist destination. Deforestation has been increasing in the area due to the cutting down of trees by pilgrims

for fire specially during the cold season.

“After the peace process began, the number of pilgrims visiting the Pathivara area too has been rising. Consequently, more trees are cut,” chairman of Pathivaradevi Temple Conservation and Promotion Committee Dilliraj Maden said. “As the Pathivara area lies at an altitude of 3994 meters above the sea level, there is extreme cold in the area and pilgrims use to spend nights in the temple area by burning firewood,” a local, Dilli Acharya, said.

Pathivara is also rich in bio-diversity. Flowers like rhododendron, champ, dhibiphul, ratosunpate, maikopila and sunakhari and medicinal herbs like pakhanbed are found in abundance in the area. Pathivara is especially famous for rhododendron. According to botanical experts, twenty-eight different species of rhododendrons are found here.

With increasing deforestation, birds like danphe, Koel, Kalij and Jureli and animals like red pandas, charibagh and musk deers have also been displaced from the area.

“With more than 50,000 pilgrims and tourists visiting the area annually, there is a real risk of the area going totally naked within few years,” chairman of Pathivara Area Development Committee DB Rai said, adding, “A master plan is being drafted for the overall development of Pathivara area including a curb in deforestation.”

“If deforestation is not controlled on time, all the natural resources of the area will be extinct soon,” Rai added.