Firewood sale up in ValleyAt a time when the unofficial Indian blockade has resulted in an acute fuel shortage, people from the urban areas have been using firewood from forests across the country to ease their woes.
At a time when the unofficial Indian blockade has resulted in an acute fuel shortage, people from the urban areas have been using firewood from forests across the country to ease their woes.
The blockade at border points has caused severe fuel crisis, including an obstruction in importing fossil fuel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking purpose. The scarcity of cooking gas along with other petroleum products such as kerosene has left the urban household with no option but to use firewood extracted from forests.
According to Jograj Giri, national programme officer at the Federation of Community Forest Users’ Nepal, an umbrella organisation of around 18,000 users groups across the country, the community forest management has been collecting the firewood from dead, fallen trees and logs to provide to consumers as well as the urban-centric users who are in dire need of the fuel.
Inside the Valley, various collection points have been set up where the firewood collected from various community forests in the vicinity are put up for local consumption. The collection points set up in Gothatar, Kalanki, Dakshinkali, Ramkot, Duhakot and Suryabinayak have been selling fuel for Rs 16 per kilogram.
“The demand has been increasing, however the forest users groups have not been able to extract as much as needed due to legal barriers,” Giri said. Usually, the government prohibits any kind of extraction from the forests between June and September.
FECOFUN estimates that around 5 million cubic feet of firewood can be collected from community forests across the country. The collected fuel wood could support a majority of the population, especially in the urban areas where families are dependent on imported fuel.
Considering the increasing demand for fuel wood to meet daily needs of families who are facing a cooking gas crisis, the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) has already directed its concerned authorities to facilitate the access to firewood from forests to the general public if needed.
A directive that will allow the extraction of firewood as well as logs and timbers for reconstruction works after the earthquake disaster is awaiting the government’s approval.
“Fuel crisis for cooking has affected the urban families more and we are trying to provide immediate alternatives,” said Krishna Acharya, spokesperson at MoFSC. According to the national census 2011, about two-thirds of the total households (64 percent) use firewood as the usual source of fuel for cooking followed by LPG (21.03 percent) in the country.
In the meantime, concerned over reports on rise of illegal logging and deforestation in Tarai districts during the ongoing protests, the ministry on Thursday decided to mobilise additional forest staffs to carry out patrolling and monitoring of forest activities.