Development turns into curse in Bajura

Bajura, January 27

Development projects launched without conducting environmental impact assessment have been triggering a trail of destruction in Bajura.

A road project from Kawadi-Bichhya-Hilsa in Himali Rural Municipality of Bajura started last year. The seven-kilometre road was constructed with a budget of Rs 10 million provided by the provincial government.

A dozer was used to construct the road. Three irrigation canals at Kuyadi, Kawadi and Bichhaya were destroyed during construction of the road.

Besides, the canal of Kawadi Khola hydropower also suffered damage while opening track of the road, according to local Harka Bahadur Budha.

Damage caused to the irrigation canals has rendered land of 150 families barren. Locals have requested the Infrastructure Development Office, Achham, to repair the canals, but to no avial. “As the canals were destroyed crops wilted on the field,” said local Dan Bahadur Budha. Their pleas to the local government for help has gone unheeded.

Nepali Army had constructed the road along the Karnali Corridor leading to Humla.

Construction of the road leading to the corridor damaged irrigation canal near Kawadi bazaar, according to local Angalal Budthapa.

The law stipulates that preliminary environmental impact assessment test and comprehensive project study have to be done before the start of a development project. Drinking water and irrigation projects as well as forest groups have to be compensated if they are destroyed by the projects.

Infrastructure Development Office Achham acting Chief Jung Thapa admitted that road construction had damaged irrigation canals in many places.

He pledged to repair the damaged canals within the current fiscal. Similarly, road construction with the help of dozer has posed risk to the entire human settlement at Maimatola of Badimalika Municiplaity-1.

Locals have been forced to migrate to safer places during the rainy season due to fear of landslides.

The road construction has rendered 10 families homeless.

“At first, we were elated following construction of the road.

But, the fear of landslide has terrified us now,” said local Nari Bista. The landslip has buried paddy fields that used to produce 20 muri paddy.

Federal, province and local governments have invested on road construction from Martadi to Gaumul Rural Municipality Office. They, however, are yet to conduct environmental impact assessment.

Locals, whose land was acquired by the road project, are yet to be compensated. Road construction with the help of dozer has put a lot of human settlements at risk in the district.