Govt body blind to deforestation in Kalikot

Kalikot, November 2:

Deforestation is on the rise in different forests in the district, thanks to the indifference of the District Forest Office (DFO) towards controlling the depletion of the natural resource.

Locals said deforestation was increasing because the forest range posts that were closed during the decade-long insurgency had not been reinstated even after the restoration of peace.

The staffers, posted at different range posts across the district, had deserted their posts during the conflict, citing security reasons.

During the insurgency, the villagers used to fell tress after taking approval of the Maoists, locals said.

“Some 345 hectares of forest in the district is fast being cleared due to the apathy of the authorities concerned,” said Bishnu Prasad Pandey, chairman of the district chapter of the Federation of Community Forest Users of Nepal.

He also said trees in government forests were being felled without any obstruction on the pretext of household use. “Over 400 pine trees were felled in the forests in Nanikot, Phukot and Naulo areas in the last two months,” he said. Meanwhile, trees are also being felled to extract coal in Bharti VDC.

“Deforestation is on the rise in Rachuli, Phoimahadev, Jubidha and Chilkhaya forest areas as well,” a local farmer, Man Giri, said. However, Netra Shahi, acting chief of Kalikot District Forest Office, denied that deforestation was rampant in government forests.

“Staffers of the DFO have been monitoring and inspecting the forests regularly,” he added. Besides deforestation, poaching of wild animals has also gone up. “Endangered species like musk deer, jharal and danfe are fast disappearing from the forests,” locals said.

According to Purna Shahi, secretary of the Dukhisalla Community Forest, many trees were felled citing security reasons in district headquarters Manma during the insurgency. “Now the trees are being felled in the name of road construction,” he added.