Implementation of revised TMJ progamme begins

Kathmandu : A revised new programme has been implemented in the forest of Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale (TMJ) area of Province-1, popularly known as the country’s Rhododendron Capital. The TMJ forest has been spread in some areas of Tehrathum, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts.

Though a 10-year protected forest management programme was executed in TMJ, important for ecotourism and biodiversity, in 2018, the revised new programme has been implemented again.

“Earlier, the programme was implemented to take ahead the conservation of forest. However, the necessity of the consumers was not met,” Director General at the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation Ram Prasad Lamsal said, adding, “Now, we have decided to take ahead the programme as the forest conservation area.”

Though the forests were protected under the concept of community forest, national forest, national park, wildlife conservation and conservation of forest among others earlier in Nepal, the new concept implemented in the TMJ is the ‘forest conservation area’.

The new concept of ‘forest conservation area’ is that the federal government make agreement, coordination with concerned stakeholders along with formulation of policy, province allocate budget by giving prioritization and the local government implement the programme with the participation of consumers.

According to Director General Lamsal, the bill prepared to take ahead the concept of forest conservation area has already been taken to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

“If this bill is endorsed, TMJ forest will be the first to implement the forest conservation area,” he said, adding, “If the bill is not endorsed we still have conservation forest.”

The bill proposed that the work related to the development of community in the protected area, conservation of natural environment and balanced utilization of natural heritage should be made effective.

The WWF had implemented the programme in the forest of TMJ since last month.

Manager of WWF Nepal TMJ Project Ananta Bhandari said that of the total 31 types of rhododendron found in Nepal, 28 are found in the same forest.

He said that snow leopard and red panda can be found in the TMJ that links Makalu Barun National Park and Kanchanjunga Conservation Area. “It has been found that the snow leopard stays in this forest for six to eight months,” Bhandari said.

This forest has been taken as the natural corridor that connects Nepal to India, China and Bhutan through Jaivik Complex of Bhutan.

It has been said that 120 species of butterfly, red panda, snow leopard and endangered birds are found in the TMJ. More than two dozen endangered herb species are also found in this forest.

The main objective of the programme is to protect rhododendron and to promote the forest as a tourist destination. Bhandari said, “Our objective is to improve the living standard of the consumers as well.”

The WWF has allocated Rs 1.2 million for the three-year programme.

The government had announced TMJ as the rhododendron conservation area on July 13, 1998. But it has not been implemented as the locals demanded their role.

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