PYUTHAN — Naubaini Rural Municipality situated in northern part of Pyuthan district has started constructing bio-embankments to control landslides. As the first priority of the locals is to build the roads, the Rural Municipality has decided to adopt eco-friendly measures to minimize the environmental damage while constructing the roads.
Shivaram Rijal, Chairman at the Rural Municipality, said that the bio-embankments will be constructed in places that are at risk of landslides, and tree plantation will be made mandatory after the construction of roads. Earlier, the roads were constructed as per the request of people without carrying out the Environment Impact Assessment. But after participating in Paani discussion organized by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), people have started thinking about long-term development, Rijal said.
“We have been working as per the commitment made earlier and the program organized by the NEFEJ has encouraged us more,” he said. Rijal said that the work to construct bio-engineering (bio-environment) has already been started with the help of local organizations in the landslide-prone areas and planning to construct more embankments in the coming fiscal year.
He said the responsibility to construct the roads will be handed over to road construction consumers’ committee only after providing them with the necessary training. Earlier, the road construction consumers’ committee used to construct the roads without the training, resulting in more damages.
The Rural Municipality Chairman said that nowadays development works are being carried out only after the technical teams monitor the areas. He said that they are planning to deploy 400 unskilled workers and 15 skilled workers in the rural municipality from the Prime Minister Employment Programme for the construction of roadside drains.
“We are planning to plant trees and construct bio-embankments and recharge ponds through the same human resources,” Rijal said. He said that they are planning to construct integrated model settlements for the landslide victims and for those who don’t have land. Hence, the concerned authority is collecting data of the people who don’t have houses, he said.
Earlier, the Rural Municipality had made commitment to find an alternative way to rehabilitate the landslide victims and homeless people. The work to construct model settlements in various wards of the Rural Municipality is being carried out as per the same commitment. Around 22 houses are being constructed at Gabhae of Damri, ward-5 under the model settlement.
Earlier, the NEFEJ had organized a discussion on the topic “How the haphazard construction of rural roads can be stopped and start constructing environment-friendly roads.”
Local representatives said that the works are being carried out as per the commitment made during that program. Speaking at the Paani discussion, Madhav Singh KC, Chairman of ward-6, said that the Paani discussion had made us aware about the environmental issues and encouraged us to construct environment-friendly infrastructure. “We have already constructed 2, 3 bio-embankments in my ward. We have decided to start green zone programme in every election center in the coming fiscal year,” he said.
Dhan Bahadur Budha, Vice-Chairman of the Rural Municipality, said that the Rural Municipality has carried out Environmental Impact Assessment for the first time this year. “We have been carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment at the Langukhola for the extraction of riverbed materials. We have been preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR),” he said.
“We have never thought that we have to carry out Environmental Impact Assessment while constructing the roads,” he said. “We had no knowledge about the measures that should be adopted while constructing the roads. We can do better if we get the training,” Budha said, adding, “No one has given training to us either province or central government. Training is necessary for us.”
Speaking at the same programe, Chief Administrative Officer of the Rural Municipality Thaneshwor Bhandari said that environment-friendly development works have started in the Rural Municipality. “The technical team should carry out the Environment Impact Assessment after the selection of the project. The Environment Impact Assessment has not been conducted in every road of Naubahini due to lack of budget and work pressure,” he said. Bio-embankment has also been constructed at the community forest of Naubahini which is at high risk of landslides. The embankment was constructed with the help of local organizations in the places which are at high risk of landslides.
Kulakhola Community Forest Vice-Chairperson Putala KC said that the landslides have been controlled after the construction of bio-embankments. Saraswati Bhusal, member of the Rural Municipality, said that the demand for constructing bio-embankment has been increasing at present as it would not affect the environment and it can be constructed from the bamboos that are easily available in the villages.
During the Paani discussion, locals said that the roads are being constructed without affecting the water sources. Simsar Drinking Water Consumers’ Committee Chairman Giriraj Rijal said that the roads are being constructed in such a way that would not affect the water sources. “Roads have not been constructed by destroying the water sources after the formation of local government. Water sources have been protected by installing fence wires,” he said.
Pahal Singh Gharti, Chairman of ward-4, said that they have established a nursery to produce saplings for afforestation to control soil erosion and to protect the water sources.
During the program, discussion was also held to manage the garbage thrown in the Lungkhola. Participants said that haphazard dumping of waste the river will affect the clarity of the river. Also speaking at the program, Devi Prasad Rijal, Chairman of Nepal Red Cross Society, Bahane, suggested that it would be better to mobilize unemployed youths to construct the roads rather than using the dozer.
All the ward chairperson except ward-8, members of Drinking Water and Sanitation Consumers’ Committee, journalists, landslide victims and locals among others were present in the program. Five-point commitments were made during the program.
- Commitments made during the program organized on March 19, 2018 will be given continuity.
- Sustainable environment-friendly roads will be constructed.
- Trees will be planted in coordination with community forest and forest office along with the construction of rural roads.
- Open grazing will be stopped in every ward and tree plantation will be made mandatory after the construction of rural roads.
- Bio-embankments will be constructed in the landslide-prone area.