Rally against Koshi Tappu expansion

RAJBIRAJ, August 8

Residents of Bhardaha, Madhuwapur, Portaha, Bairawa, Barmajhiya, among others, on Saturday staged a rally in protest of the plan to expand Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve at Bhardaha of Saptari.

The agitating locals led by a struggle committee against the expansion plan staged a demonstration, saying that expansion of territory for the wildlife reserve would leave them in the lurch. The locals shouted slogans against the plan. Struggle Committee Chair Shambhu Kumar Jha said if the expansion plan was executed it would rob thousands of Koshi victims of their livelihood.

Jha said that locals would not allow the implementation of the government’s plan to expand into Saptari. The agitators said that the government was yet to fulfil many pledges it made, including compensation for the land appropriated at the inception of the wildlife reserve.

Locals vented ire at the expansion plan as they had lost their land both at the time of construction of Koshi barrage and establishment of the wildlife reserve. They accused the government of trying to leave them landless.

The protesting locals complained that wild animals from the reserve would put their lives at risk.