Nijgadh-Kathmandu Expressway: Mismanagement leaves felled trees in limboWooden logs accumulated from the trees that were chopped for the construction of the Nijgadh-Kathmandu Express Way are decaying as a result of authoritative mismanagement.
Wooden logs accumulated from the trees that were chopped for the construction of the Nijgadh-Kathmandu Express Way are decaying as a result of authoritative mismanagement.
Nepal Army, the government-appointed authority responsible for the construction of the Expressway, cut down around 20,000 trees from national as well as community forests to make way for the construction of the 76.2-km-long highway, which will connect the Kathmandu Valley with the southern plains of the country. However, these trees have been left unaccounted for.
Around 40,000 cubic feet of wooden logs, which were the byproduct of the fallen trees, were handed over to respective community forest groups as well as district forest offices. And, although it has been more than 10 months since the logs were handed over to the respective communities/owners by the army, they have been unable to the sell those logs as the division forest office has not released any order for the sale of these logs.
After the government asked the army to construct the Expressway project, they immediately cut off the trees and handed over the logs to the respective owners. “But the community forest users do not have till date neither the logs nor the authority to sell it,” said a member of the Bakaiya Nagmani Community Forest.
“If the division forest office doesn’t give us clearance to sell the woods through auction, all the logs obtained from the trees will be destroyed.” The logs started decaying after it was hit by the incessant rain during the monsoon. The members of the community forests blame the division office for the delay in providing approval.
“If the logs are destroyed, then the division office should take responsibility,” said Rabi Raj Dangal, chairman of Bakaiya Nagmani Community Forest. “We have repeatedly requested the office to give approval to conduct an auction and sell the logs, but officials are not paying attention to our request.” The Bakaiya Nagmani has around 13000 cubic feet of logs to sell.
According to Gyanendra Mishra, chief of the division forest office, 29,066 cubic feet of logs from the four community forests and 10,432 cubic feet from the national forest are left unattended. “As we have to take details of the woods obtained from the forest, including the measurement before providing approval for the sale, it took some time,” said Mishra.
“We will soon provide the approval.” The community forests’ need the division office’s approval to sell the wood, but they do not need any approval to distribute it among the users. “But, some have even asked for the approval even to distribute among the users,” said Mishra.