Rapid encroachment in Chure takes a toll on farmersLocals say the authorities have not taken any measures to control deforestation.
Rapid deforestation caused by encroachment of land in the Chure forest range has taken a toll on Sindhuli farmers.
Locals say the rate of deforestation, which began three decades back, only increased when a Maoist’s cantonment was constructed in Chandanpur during the Maoist insurgency. The cantonment is now home to the Nepal Army’s ecology battalion. The deforestation, however, has not stopped.
Local farmers are concerned about the immediate effects the deforestation has brought about.
Among the most affected areas are Chandanpur in Kamalmai Municipality-14 and Jhunga in Dudhauli Municipality—where hundreds of acres of forest lands have been encroached upon.
“But it’s not the squatter community who has invaded the jungle; it’s those people who want to use the jungle’s space for farming and constructing houses on roadsides, even when they own plenty of arable land,” says Krishna Hari Ghimire, a local. “And they pretend to be squatters.”
Ghimire said the haphazard deforestation has had a direct effect on the locals.
“Because of deforestation, we have been experiencing bad monsoons for the last couple of years,” Ghimire said. “The repercussions have exacerbated lately and we have informed the authorities about it.”
Floods have damaged acres of arable land in Sindhuli, including that of Hom Nath Chaulagain from Kamalamai Municipality.
“Floods have damaged almost half of my ten katha land,” Chaulagain said. “Our fields where we planted paddy only a week ago are now covered in pebbles and boulders,”.
Locals also said that the trafficking of timber from the forests is on the rise, but concerned authorities have done nothing to stop the practice.
“The district’s Forest Department has paid no heed to our concerns,” Ghimire said.
Meanwhile, Bachchu Ram Subedi, deputy forest officer at the department, said, “To control deforestation, measures should be adopted to restrict the locals from cutting down trees.”
According to the Division Forest Department, Chure area covers 66.28 percent of total forest area in the district.
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