Encroachment uncheckedMore than 1,200 hectares of forest land belonging to the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has been encroached upon at various places, according to park officials.
More than 1,200 hectares of forest land belonging to the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has been encroached upon at various places, according to park officials.
Former chief conservation officer Kamaljung Kunwar said park land is being encroached upon at the behest of spiritual leader Swami Kamalnayanacharya. Some swathes of land in the buffer zones also have been encroached upon, he said, adding several infrastructure such as concrete houses, cowsheds and walls have been erected in around 10 hectares of land that falls in the protected area.
The Triveni-based Gajendramoksha Dham along the Narayani river has been considered a religious site since the 1970s where Swami Kamalnayanacharya started his activities in 1999. “Construction of schools, ashrams and roads by clearing forests has increased in the recent years,” said Kunwar.
Although the CNP could not evict Swami Kamalnayanacharya and his followers from the protected area, the park administration has directed others to leave the protected land.
Nurendra Aryal, information officer of the CNP, said hundreds of people have been encroaching upon forest land in Bandarjhula, Madi, Kasara and Sauraha areas.
“We have notified all concerned to leave the protected areas soon. If they fail to comply with the order within 35 days, we will take action against them,” said Aryal.
According to the CNP, the land encroachers have constructed hundreds of houses in the protected area.
“There’s no law for the well-connected people like Swami Kamalnayanacharya,” he said.
Madhukar Malla, chairman of the Buffer Zone Management Committee, said habitats of the wild animals are shrinking due to rampant encroachment.