Trees cut down to construct smart toilets in Nawalparasi (West)The forest site is the area selected by the Province 5 government to construct smart toilets.
More than a hundred trees in Parijat Community Forest, which is adjacent to the East-West Highway, have been felled in Bardaghat, Nawalparasi (West), to construct smart toilets, locals said.
Until now, 119 trees in around two bighas of the forestland have been chopped down. The forest site is the area selected by the Province 5 government to construct smart toilets. Forest officials said the provincial government had requested the local unit to provide space for the construction.
“Bardaghat Municipality had demanded that we provide them land to build toilets,” said Chudamani Bhandari, chairman of the Parijat Community Forest Users Group. “We are clearing the forest to provide land for the municipality.”
However, locals complained that on Saturday, an unidentified group chopped down trees in the forest in broad daylight.
“It’s not the forest users who chopped the trees on Saturday. We are looking into the incident,” said Bhandari.
The community forest was planning to allocate some land for the toilet construction through its 21st Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Forest Act-2019.
“The trees are being cut down haphazardly on the pretext of constructing smart toilets. It’s against the rules and forest regulations,” said Division Forest Officer Ram Narayan Shah.
Meanwhile, Bardaghat Municipality Mayor Dhiraj Sharma said his office had asked the community forest for a land plot to construct smart toilets as per the programme of the provincial government.
“Many trees have been cut down along the Butwal-Narayangadh section for the expansion of the East-West Highway,” said Sharma. “We suspect that some of the locals might have chopped down trees upon seeing the Division Road Office workers doing that along the road.”
The federal Ministry of Forest and Environment had granted permission to cut down around 46,000 trees along the Butwal-Narayangadh section.