Exploitation of Chure land causes adverse impacts in Dhanusha

Janakpur, June 1

Deforestation, grazing, logging and rampant exploitation of the Chure land has resulted in massive floods in Jallad River in Dhanusha in the past few decades.

Floods in the Jallad River have completely swept away at least a dozen villages in a decade.

Chhiripokhari, Andupati and Katared, among other villages, were swept away by the floods. Bishnu Yadav, assistant forest officer at Sector Forest office, Puspabalpur, said, “Many flood victims died in the floods while others were forced to shift to other safe places.” He informed that the villages that had been swept away comprised more than 100 households.

The Chure hills are young and composed of unconsolidated loose materials. Steep slopes, high soil erosion and degraded lands are quite common in areas during monsoon season.

Engineer at Water Induced Disaster Prevention Dhanusha division, Manoj Dev, said the flow area of the river was recorded at about one kilometre.

“When the Chure range was protected, the river flow area was up to 10 metres. But in recent years, the area has reached up to one km due to soil erosion and floods.”

According to Water Induced Disaster Prevention Office, Dhanusha, the yearly expanding flow-area of the Jallad River had puts 52 Village Development Committees and as many as 100,000 people in danger.

Madan Ghimire, a local of Digambarpur, said they were forced to live under constant fear of losing their lives. “The villagers don’t sleep for three to four months during the monsoon season as the fear of flood looms large,” he said.

He also demanded that the Chure conservation area be expanded to cover the areas near Jallad River.

Meanwhile, Chure Tarai-Madhes Conservation Development Board has completed slope stabilisation, catch drain and cascade construction in the river. Construction of an embankment in the Jallad River is also under way on both sides from the East-West Highway.

The development board spent Rs 156.680 million in the previous fiscal year and Rs 151.87 million in the current fiscal year for various construction works on the river’s embankment to prevent flood risks. Ram Dayal Yadav, member of the development board, informed that the price of land near the river had increased after the construction works.

According to him, local residents have started to sell their riverside land for up to Rs 300,000 per Kattha, whereas the erstwhile rate stood at Rs 10,000.

According to the development board, the government will launch Chure Conservation Masterplan as soon as possible in order to fully implement the Chure Conservation Programme.

The board has constructed cascades and catchwater drains, among others, in five out of 164 rivers across the country.