Minister vows to conserve threatened wildlife trail

DHANGADHI: Forest minister Dipak Bohara today said the government was determined to adopt strong measures to conserve the Basanta wildlife trail.

Inaugurating a forest planning symposium for the far western region in Kailali's Dhangadhi, minister Bohara said, "I have learnt about the continued encroachment of the natural passage. The government will soon implement a special programme in the region." He also expressed his commitment to control the encroachment on the corridor. He clarified that the settlement established by the land reforms ministry in Siradhani in the region was a mistake.

"The land ministry should not have intervened in the jurisdiction of the forest ministry," he said.

According to locals, the encroachment of the corridor region had increased after the land ministry distributed the land there to 1000 freed Kamaiyas in 2006. Currently, an NGO has been building concrete homes for the Kamaiyas. Minister Bohara said, "In order to conserve the corridor region, even those concrete houses can be pulled down." He also claimed that the Dudejhari incident in Kailali was caused by the government's stern policy against forest encroachment.

Bohara said the government would expedite the process of handing over smaller forests around the natural corridor to local communities.

It is said that the symposium will make plans for conserving the forest areas of the trail and other major forests including the Laljhadi of Kanchanpur.

A jumbo team including forest secretary Yubaraj Bhusal, director general of Department of Forest, Planning and Monitoring Section head Annapurna Nanda Das, assistant secretary Shyam Bajimaya has come to Kailali to participate in the two-day symposium.