Roads being built without EIA

Okhaldhunga, Feb 23

With the formation of the local bodies, road construction work has gained momentum in the rural villages in Okhaldhunga of late. However, the roads are being constructed without environmental impact assessment.

Of eight locals bodies, Okhaldhunga’s Likhu and Champadevi rural municipalities and Siddhicharan municipality have expedited construction of roads by buying bulldozers, while other local bodies too are opening tracks for new roads.

“As it’s high time we started working on our election pledges, we couldn’t simply sit idle doing nothing,” said Chishankhugadhi rural municipality, Ward-3 Chair Ganga Bahadur Shrestha.

As per sources, 60 per cent budget of local bodies in the district is allocated for physical infrastructure development. And most of the wards in the local levels are said to have put construction of road on their top priority.

Local Cholendra Karki of Chishankhugadhi-6 was concerned about the haphazard construction of roads. “The local government may have a good intention in carrying out development works but what is the use of such works carried out in haste?” he asked, adding the road construction by ignoring its impact factor will only serve to make the farmland barren and invite natural disasters such as landslides.

Community Forest Users’ Federation Nepal, Okhaldhunga chair Gopalman Thapa also expressed concerns about the construction of roads without environmental impact assessment. “Nine months after the local level elections, the only development that has happened here is the opening of tracks randomly, which will only court further disasters,” he said.

On his part, District Coordination Committee Okhaldhunga chief Jaya Bahadur Shrestha too was apprehensive about haphazard construction of roads.