Madi locals press for amendment to ActLocal people of Madi area in Chitwan district have demanded amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act-1973 for the rights and protection of the villagers.
Local people of Madi area in Chitwan district have demanded amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act-1973 for the rights and protection of the villagers.
The locals complain that they have been unnecessarily harassed by the Chitwan National Park (CNP) administration and security officials in the name of the existing legal provisions.
Claiming that the Act is focused only on conserving wildlife without any regards for people living near the national parks, the Madi folks warned of an agitation unless it is immediately amended to address their grievances.
During an interaction programme held in Basantapur Bazaar of Madi on Friday, the locals complained that they had hardly had any benefits from the CNP, but suffered from the park administration and animals instead.
“The park might be a matter of glory, but it has been a curse for the Madi locals. Nepal Army personnel do not allow a mother from Madi to carry meat her daughter who recently gives birth in Bharatpur,” said Shivahari Subedi, the ward chairman of Madi-9.
“Security personnel detain locals if they remove sand and peddle deposited by the stream in their paddy fields,” he added.
Mayor of Madi Municipality Thakur Dhakal and other elected representatives urged the authorities to take necessary initiatives to ease restrictions imposed on the locals.
“One cannot take even a single piece of furniture out of here if he/she local from Madi migrates elsewhere. You cannot take away a broom and bamboo basket from here. Such legal hurdles should be cleared now,” Dhakal demanded.
The elected representatives call for the authorities concerned to address locals’ grievances while involving them in the preservation and promotion of the CNP.
Surrounded by the CNP on three sides, the Madi locals have to pass through the dense forest to reach the district headquarters.
The locals have been affected by wild animals as well. The wildlife enter the settlement, attack people and destroy corps each year. At least 176 people were killed in animal attacks in the CNP buffer zone in the past 21 years. A third of the victims were from Madi.
CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who was elected to the federal parliament from Madi area and the participant of the Friday programme, expressed his solidarity to the local people and assured them that he would take initiative to amend the Act.
“I will talk to officials at the ministries concerned and urge them to amend the Act. The Act will be amended. If that doesn’t happen, I will come to Madi and lead the protest,”