Khaptad’s meadows losing natural beauty

Dipayal, August 23

Wide patans (meadows) of Khaptad area spreading over four districts in the far-west have started to erode. Cracks have developed leading to cave-ins due to neglect and uncontrolled grazing in the region.

Cracks at multiple places have started to appear, flowing rivers have made gorges and some parts have caved-in in the meadows ruining their natural beauty.

The meadows used to look like gardens with flowers. Khaptad area is home to 52 small and large meadows including Khaptai Patan, Ghodadauni Patan, Buki Patan and Triveni Patan. It takes one to three hours to traverse a large Khaptad meadow.

Today, the Khaptai meadow is facing the worst crisis. The Triveni River is posing a serious threat to this particular meadow and a big gorge has developed in its middle.

Khaptad Area Tourism Development Committee Executive Director Ganesh Bahadur Singh said if the current state of cave-ins and erosion continues, it will endanger Khaptad region’s existence.

Uncontrolled grazing in the region has led to eroded meadows. Khaptad National Park Mid-layer Area Development Committee Chairman Ram Prasad Upadhyay informed that rainfall on average had increased in the highlands in the last five years. Erosion due to rainfall has increased as cattle hoofs loosen the soil in the meadows. No attention has been given to check soil erosion.

Khaptad’s meadow area in Achham, Bajura, Doti and Bajhang has hundreds of cowsheds. Cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats graze in the meadows. The park is in no position to control grazing as it has been done for many years. Such erosion has caused the most damage at Ghodadauni meadow and Khaptai meadow. These meadows have developed big gorges in the middle. Bishraj Khatri of Channa in Bajhang said that meadows have been developing cracks and cave-ins for the past five years.

According to Khatri, wild boars coming to the meadows to graze from the park have increased. “Boars had given a hard time causing problems in the meadows before the park was established. The problem was solved after hunters had driven the boars away.  “The meadow is caving-in, lakes are buried, and rare herbs are being smuggled,” Doti Sayal Rural Municipality’s Lal Bahadur Bogati said.