Proposed children’s park draws flak

Chitwan, June 19

Wildlife conservationists have protested the construction of a proposed children’s park inside a community forest in Bharatpur.

Conservationists are against any type of construction inside the community forest and have warned that such constructions would create conflict between wild animals and humans.

Director General at Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation Man Bahadur Khadka said building a park in Ramawel Community Forest in Bharatpur Metropolis was not appropriate. “The community forest serves as a safe corridor for wild animals to move between Chitwan National Park and Chure hills and any kind of obstruction along that corridor would jeopardise the harmony between the inhabitants of the forest and humans,” Khadka said. He added that the proposed site was not suitable for children’s park.

District Forest Office Chitwan Chief Kedar Poudel ruled out any sort of physical construction in the forest area, reminding that the construction would also require permission of his office. “The proposed construction site and the forest considered hold special significance for wildlife, so constructing a children’s park or any other infrastructure there is out of the question,” he said.

Even though the local body and stakeholders have okayed the construction, Poudel warned that any kind of construction could be bulldozed.

Meanwhile, Ward No 12 Chair Narendra Kandangwa said they have planned to set aside some 10 bigha of the community forest land north of the East-West highway for the proposed park. “The proposed park will be surrounded by high walls and will have a swimming pool, view tower and various sports facilities,” he said. The ward chair’s office has also allocated Rs 1.1 million for construction of a disabled-and-children-friendly park.

“Even the provincial government has set aside Rs 2.5 million for the park and the remaining fund will be managed from the metropolis and the private sector,” Kandangwa said. According to the ward chair, the park is estimated to cost near Rs 40 million.