Encroachment of forest land rife in Kailali
KAILALI, AUGUST 5
Growing trend of constructing physical structures encroaching upon forest land in the vicinity of Godavari Municipality is on the rise. The municipality in Kailali district is the headquarters of the Sudurpaschim Province.
This trend that started a few years ago, has intensified since the imposition of the lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Division Forest Office, Dhangadhi said the trend of constructing structures by encroaching upon forest areas has increased of late.
The structures infringing on the forest, which were removed four months ago, have surfaced again. Locals said some unscrupulous people had been constructing structures one after the other at Gaimara Danda, Phulbasti, Budhitola, Chunepani, Samadhigada, Bhyaguttepani, Baspani and the forest area along the Bhimdatta Highway.
According to the Division Forest Office Dhangadhi, timber smuggling and encroachment of forest has increased in Kailali district with the imposition of the lockdown.
Office Chief Ram Chandra Kandel acknowledged that timber smuggling and encroachment of forest land have increased in Godavari area.
He said although they had been removing the structures constructed by encroaching upon the forest area time and again, it was found that people had been constructing structures and living in the same area again.
Kandel said people involved in encroaching upon the forest and constructing illegal structures would be arrested in coordination with the local administration and action taken against them.
The forest office had removed many structures constructed at Gaimara Danda.
The trend of constructing structures at the location has been increasing in recent days.
Squatters, who have settled near the road have been encroaching upon the community forest, complained Yagya Bahadur Rawal, a local. He said houses and sheds were being constructed by encroaching upon the community and national forest area.
It is said some people, who have constructed sheds by clearing forest at Gaimara area along the Dhangadhi-Dadeldhura road section, have done the same at a place called Khoriya. It is also suspected that ill attempts were being made to settle people by clearing the forest. The trend of constructing sheds and shops on the side of the road has increased along the Dhangadhi-Dadeldhura Highway.
The trend of encroaching upon the community and national forest around Teghari Godavari area by forest mafia has intensified after the Sudurpaschim Province government, three years back, declared the forest area at Teghari Godavari as the site for the provincial headquarters.
Most of the people, who have settled on the edge of the forest in the name of flood victims and landless squatters, have been found encroaching on the forest and constructing illegal sheds and houses. The Division Forest Office, Dhangadhi said 21,154 hectares of forest area was found encroached upon in Kailali.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.