Madi ward chief on hunger strike against national park lawPark and wildlife conservation law has denied Madi access to development, say locals.
A municipal ward chief in Chitwan is on a hunger strike demanding amendments to the provisions in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (1973), which he says have been barring development works and public facilities in his area.
Krishna Prasad Paudel, the chairman of Madi Municipality Ward 1, began his protest at the ward office in Baruwa Bazaar on Wednesday evening to press the government into amending the Act that prohibits Madi residents from enjoying facilities like roads and round-the-clock vehicle service.
Madi is surrounded on three sides by Chitwan National Park, which means the local government cannot launch big infrastructure development projects in the area in order not to disturb the protected wildlife and their habitat.
Paudel said the Act must be amended as it restricted the local government from addressing the concerns of Madi residents.
Besides the lack of public facilities, the Madi residents have also been suffering from the problems of wildlife attacks on humans, predation of crops and livestock, and land encroachment.
“I am protesting for the people of Madi who have long been demanding the government to amend the Act,” Paudel said.
Madi is among the worst affected areas in Chitwan in terms of human-wildlife conflict. According to the national park’s data, at least 157 people have been killed in wildlife attacks in the park’s buffer zone areas in the past 20 years, and a third of them were from Madi.
Meanwhile, Thakur Dhakal, the mayor of Madi Municipality, has postponed his hunger strike plan for the same demand.
On Saturday, Mayor of Madi Municipality Thakur Dhakal had announced to launch a hunger strike from Wednesday, coinciding with the Democracy Day.
He, however, postponed the scheduled strike allegedly under political pressure.
Dhakal, who was elected from the ruling Nepal Communist Party, said he decided to postpone his planned hunger strike after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli assured to address the concerns of Madi locals.