Aathbis Municipality, Dailekh to construct environment-friendly roads

Dailekh — Aathbis Municipality of Dailekh District, Karnali Province has expressed its commitment to construct environment-friendly roads.

The Municipality made this commitment in the wake of growing demand for constructing rural roads after the formation of local government. The Municipality has been facing the repercussions of building the roads by using dozers and without preparing the environmental impact assessment report in the past.

During a program titled ‘Paani’ organized by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists, local representatives said they would construct the environment-friendly roads while constructing the roads in the coming days and would plant trees after constructing the roads.

Speaking at the program, Municipality Chief Khadga Prasad Upadhyay acknowledged that there were a few lapses in the construction of roads as they had no knowledge about the environment-friendly roads and had given responsibility to the engineer to construct the roads. He expressed his commitment that they would construct the environment-friendly roads while constructing roads in the coming days.

“Earlier, we had spent around Rs 20 million to construct the roads but this time we have allocated around Rs 8.5 million. Now, we will not compromise on the quality while repairing the roads and won’t let the water sources dry,” Upadhyay said.

Speaking at the same program, Vice-Chairperson of the metropolis Deepa Bohara admitted that they had to face the problems as they did not give priority to the environment impact assessment and expressed her commitment to plant trees near the newly constructed roads.

Taking part in the discussion, Nisha Rimal of Aathbis Municipality Ward-6 said that they have started facing the shortage of water as the water sources were destroyed while constructing roads in their village.

“The concerned authority did not give attention to the water sources while constructing the roads. Now, the water sources have started drying up,” she said.

Water sources have begun to dry and people have been facing the problems of landslides during the rainy season due to the haphazard construction of roads without carrying out feasibility study of the land.

During the discussion, locals vented their ire against local representatives and dozer drivers.

Tej Bahadur Nepali of Ward-6 lamented that cracks had developed in his house as the driver haphazardly used the dozer while constructing the roads. Now, my house is at risk, he said.

Nagendra Shahi of Ward 7 suggested that the Municipality should not use only dozer to construct the roads, giving an example that the roads from Ramghat to Singasaini were constructed by the locals and they have not faced the problem of landslide yet.

Saying that there were no drainage canals on the roads that were constructed in Aathbis Municipality, Om Prakash Timilsena of Ward-7 said that the rule or policy should be formulated for mandatory drainage canals while constructing the roads and to plant trees to resolve the problems of floods and landslides.

Locals from various wards taking part in the discussion spoke about the problems they had to face during the rainy season due to lack of environment-friendly roads.

Engineer at the Aathbis Municipality Sumit Kumar Das said that the people have been facing the problems of floods, landslides and water shortage as the roads are not being constructed as per the survey carried out by the technicians and it has also been affecting the environment.

“Though there is deputation of 13 technicians, only two technicians are working. There are around 200 to 300 projects and we are facing problems to complete the works on time,” he said.

The works are not being carried out as per the survey as the people take the technician to carry out survey after the completion of the works.

He attributed the problems to failure on the part of local representatives and road construction consumers committee to work as per the DPR prepared after carrying out the survey and also not using the budget allocated for the bio engineering.

During the programme, Federation of Community Forest Users’ Group Dailekh Chairman Maniram Sharma said that the risk of landslide has been increasing as the concerned authority did not plant trees after the completion of road construction.

Infrastructure expert Santosh Panthi said that the roads will be sustainable and environment-friendly if the concerned authority carried out works in three phases—planning, implementation and maintenance—while constructing the roads.

Panthi said action plan should be taken ahead as per the master plan of the municipality before making the road construction plan. He further said that it is necessary to conduct environment impact assessment and geological study before constructing the roads.

He said the roads should be constructed so as to minimize damage and more benefit.

Municipality Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and all ward chairpersons responded to the queries of the participants and also expressed their commitment.

Ward Chairpersons of all the wards, members of road construction consumers committee, drinking water consumers committee, students of Mid-Western University and journalists, among others, were present in the program.

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