The Province 2 chief minister has urged the central government to rectify its decision to open the export of sand, gravel, and stones in the name of reducing the existing trade deficit.

In a press statement, the provincial government described the churiya range to the north of the province as protecting the Tarai belt and said that any damage to the range could spell disaster.

"The central government's decision to open the export of resources such as sand, gravel, stones and the likes to minimise what it calls our national trade deficit could obliterate the existing forest resources altogether and pose a threat to human settlements and farmlands in the plains towards the south in our province. We at the provincial government are therefore seriously concerned about the repercussions of such a short-sighted decision," the statement endorsed by Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut read. Further, the statement has also noted increasing cases of floods and landslides and the decrease in production of crops in the plains in recent years and warned the situation could worsen if the government decision to disembowel the Churiya range is implemented for some shortterm financial gains.

The statement also said that the provincial government was alert about stopping deforestation, protecting biodiversity, environment and water sources and maintaining ecological balance.

CM Raut, through the statement, has also warned that the provincial government will be obliged to take necessary steps in order to protect the Churiya range and the natural resources there if the central government fails to rectify its controversial decision.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.