Sainamaina Municipality in Rupandehi starts patrolling forests to control illegal activitiesTo control smuggling of forest products and wildlife parts, the unit has imposed a ban on people entering the forests.
Sainamaina Municipality in Rupandehi district has stepped up a joint patrolling initiative in many areas of its forests to control rampant smuggling of forest products and wildlife parts.
Because of illegal logging and rampant poaching activities, the municipality has coordinated with Area Police Office, Division Forest Office and Community Forest Users Group to conduct patrolling starting last Sunday. The armed security personnel and forest guards have been on patrol in the forest areas for the last two days.
Chitra Bahadur Karki, mayor of the municipality, said that with the move they aim to control smuggling of forest products and wildlife parts. He said, “We have incorporated security personnel, forest officials and forest users group to conduct patrolling in the forest areas. We hope that illegal activities—including forest fires—can be controlled now.”
The municipality covers around 1,200 hectares of forestland which expands from the Chure hills to the Tarai. Sixteen community forests and one collaborative forest of the municipality have been registered in the Division Forest Office in Rupandehi.
To implement this move, the municipality has endorsed the Community Forest Operation and Management Act 2075, which allows them to deploy security personnel to patrol the forests.
“As the settlements are scattered and few, locals will not be able to carry out preservation efforts. That’s why we formed patrol groups to conduct patrolling to control unlawful activities in the forests,” said Keshav Aryal, the information office of the municipality.
Police personnel from Area Police Offices in Saaljhandi and Ranyaura are taking the lead in patrolling the forests. There are 42 members in the patrol group. Indra Bahadur Pacchai, chief at the Division Forest Office, said that security personnel and forest guards are patrolling the forests by dividing the area into three different sections.
“Timber smuggling, poaching and forest fires are the major challenges here,” said Pacchai. “With the patrolling in place, we hope to reduce such acts.”
To control illegal activities, the municipality has also imposed a ban on locals entering the forests without taking permission from the municipality. “The municipality office will take action against those who enter the forest without taking permission,” said Karki, adding that they have separated grazing land and some forest area for locals to collect fodder from and graze their cattle in.
Lal Bahadur Kalamagar, a local of Sainamaina, said that most of the locals have welcomed the municipality’s move. “The joint patrolling will help control illegal logging, smuggling and forest fires. Even if we have to wait for firewood collection, it’s a small inconvenience and we are okay with it since the move stands to conserve wild animals and forest products.”