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Preliminary evaluation recommends comprehensive Chure Act and policies

KATHMANDU: Preliminary evaluation of the President Chure Terai-Madhes Conservation Development Programme (PCTMCDP) has suggested establishing a strong Chure Landscape Authority.
“A powerful authority with full fledge responsibility from central to local levels is needed for the overall development of the Chure region,” PCTMCDP said at a programme organised at the National Planning Commission on Friday.
It recommended formulating a comprehensive Chure Act and other policies, rules and regulations to maintain a harmony in programme execution.
The committee has made a special note that the budget allocated to the programme is very small and not utilised properly.
“The Chure Master Plan had proposed Rs. 10 billion capital budget to the programme which would be increased to Rs. 19 billion in the second year, but it has got only Rs. 1.5 billion,” said Prof. Krishna R. Tiwari, programme expert and committee leader.
Master Plan and Guidelines are strong achievements, but there is a lack of act and regulation which has resulted in weak implementation and monitoring. At the same time, the programme is further constrained by the changing political structure with different level of governments managing and conserving the resources.
“Similarly, the board lacks legal authority, it does not function as a solid authoritative institutional setup while there is an ad hoc organisational set up at the provincial and central levels,” said Prof. Tiwari.
The committee said that the national priority highways and unplanned rural roads in the Chure region had resulted in environmental and ecological deterioration which has increased annual flooding and inundation of the Dun, Bhavar and Terai-Madhes.
Forest encroachment and sloping land cultivation, changing river course and deposition of debris and silt, excessive extraction of river bed materials, and wild forest fires are mentioned as other major challenges in Chure conservation and development.
The committee has recommended to differentiate the upstream and downstream needs, scale up intervention and institutionalise it and devise better strategies for fire protection.
It has asked the government to carry out systemic geological and hydro-geological investigation of each watershed in the Chure region, construct recharge ponds in the region a few kilometers up section from the Chure-Bhabar boundary.
Similarly, there is a need to identify appropriate or inappropriate places for construction material mining and apply engineering and non-engineering techniques to control hazards like soil erosion, landslide, bank cutting and flooding.
“Adopt Mountain Risk Engineering principles in linear-infrastructure development,” recommended the committee.
Chure covers 12.78 per cent area of the country of which 74 per cent landscape is covered with forest. Fourteen of Nepal’s total 118 ecosystems lie in Chure hills and 12 lie in Terai-Madhes region.
Chure has seven protected areas (national parks and wildlife reserves), 10 protected forests, four ramsar wetlands and 17 paleo-historical and archaeological wetlands.
The evaluation was conducted by the Institute of Forestry at the Tribhuvan University with a committee comprising programme expert Prof. Krishna R. Tiwari, policy and institution expert Porf. Ridish K. Pokharel, forest and biodiversity expert Santosh Rayamajhi, watershed management and Geographical Information System expert Binod P. Heyjoo and socio-economic and livelihood expert Bir B. Khanal Chhetri.
Faculties of the IOF’s Pokhara and Hetauda campuses also were involved in field data and evaluation.

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