Far west lakes in peril for want of conservation

Dadeldhura, January 17

Scores of lakes in various far-west districts are on the verge of extinction due to lack of proper conservation.

Aali Lake of Dadeldhura, Betkot Lake located at the confluence of Dadeldhura and Kanchanpur, Chhatiwan Lake at the border point of Dadeldhura and Doti, Raroshan Lake of Achham and Surma Lake of Bajhang are in crisis.

All the lakes are just an hour’s walk from the district headquarters.

According to locals, the concerned authority has failed to conserve the lakes for want of necessary budget.

“Though Dadeldhura folks have adopted some conservation measures at the local level by forming conservation committees, the efforts have all been in vain due to lack of budget and apathy on the part of the government,” complained Amar Budhamagar of Aalital VDC.

Budhamagr said the locals had formed a committee aiming to conserve the local Aalital Lake under his chairmanship seven years ago. The committee built a three-kilometre road with labour donated by the locals. But they failed to continue the work due to lack of government support.

“Though we persistently appealed to the District Development Committee for help with our development plan, they did not heed our requests,” regretted Budhamagar.

The Nile Lake, the largest in the district, vanished five years ago due to the lack of protection, said local Amar Sawad. “The lake was very big and we could hardly see its other side.

However, the landslides gradually buried it and there is no trace of the lake now,” he said.

Dadeldhura Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Prakash Sawad claimed that a large number of foreign employment aspirants would stay in the country if tourism was promoted by conserving the lakes and other natural beauties of the region.

“If only we could protect the lakes, we could easily attract a large number of internal as well as external tourists in the area. The youths then could have employment opportunities in their home district,” said Sawad.

Local Development Officer Gyan Raj Pandey of Dadeldhura said there was not a single project related to lake conservation at the DDC.

He also argued that no non-governmental organisation was working in the field of lake conservation in the district.