Khatyad Rural Municipality locals regret haphazard construction of roads

Mugu : Khatyad Rural Municipality of Mugu or the local government constructed roads in various places giving top priority to the roads for the Khatyadi locals who had to walk for a week to buy salt due to lack of roads.

Khatyad locals or Khatyad Rural Municipality itself is facing the consequences for not complying with the environment-friendly policy and the standard set by the government for constructing the roads.

Almost all the hills of Khatyad have sustained cracks due to lack of long term vision while carrying out development works.

Locals lamented that their arable lands have started caving in and they have also been facing the problem of landslides due to the cracks sustained by using excavator haphazardly.

Bhim Prasad Jaisi of Khatyad Rurala Municipality Ward-7 said that his arable land has been caved in due to the recently constructed road that links Raskot from Jamtha. He further said that his house is also at risk of collapsing.

“Neither I have land nor there will be my house,” Jaisi said, adding, “The Rural Municipality has also not given any compensation for the loss.”

Locals have been facing problems rather than benefit due to the construction of roads. The local government has been constructing roads without carrying out environment impact access or Initial Environment Examination in the recent time.

The Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), which has been advocating through media sector to minimize the loss, has been organising various programmes in the Himalayan and Hilly region under the Rapti, Karnali and Mahakali watershed (catchment) under the Paani Project.

Under the same project, the nefej organised a discussion programme at Khatyadi Rural Municipality of Mugu to raise awareness about the effects of haphazard construction of roads and how the environment-friendly roads can be constructed.

Most of the people attending the programme were dissatisfied with the unmanaged construction of rural roads.

“Earlier, we were so happy that the local government was constructing roads for us. Now, we are in fear that our houses might collapsed anytime soon during the rainy season and we have been forced to walk even six months have not been passed after the construction of roads,” Jaya Bahadur Rawat of Khatyad Rural Municipality Ward-7 said.

Locals have been saddened with the construction of roads saying that it has buried their arable land, dried up water sources and also destroyed the forests.

Though there was a policy to construct the roads through consumers committee at the cost of around Rs 10 million, the consumers committee was limited only in the name and the responsibility to complete the whole work was given to the dozer operators, Nanda Bahadur Shahi of Ward-11 said.

“The survey of constructing the road from Masana to Bira along the Khaptad Rara Road Section was carried out after digging the road. When I raised this issue, all the villagers told me that I was against the development. Many people lost their arable lands due to the same road,” he said.

The roads are being constructed by not carrying out environment impact assessment and without keeping in mind the long-term effect, he said. The problem has surfaced as the consumers committee was limited only in the name, Shahi further said.

The officer bearers of road construction consumers committee admitted that the committee is limited only in the name in Khatyad Rural Municipality.

Kinta Ghorsaini, 60, of Khatyad Rural Municipality Ward-7 said that though she was appointed as a member of the consumers committee, others are doing her work.

Drinking Water Consumers Committee Chairperson Ganga Devi Upadhyay of Ward-8 said that the road construction has not only destroyed the water sources but also the irrigation cannel.

“We realized that the vibrations caused by bulldozer affect long distance.  Now, our water sources are drying up due to the road construction,” she said.

Local representatives have been saying that they have been authorized to construct the roads in each and every ward after the formation of local government.

Lokendra Chandra Thapa of Ward-4 said that local representatives did not care about the environmental effects and the problems locals had to face due to the construction of roads.

It has been found that the roads are being constructed in Hilly areas only on the basis of detailed report project.

Khatyad Rural Municipality Engineer Raj Kumar Bhatta said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) reports should prepared while constructing the roads as the detailed project report only cannot know about the environmental effects.

“The detailed project report only divulge about the investment. The team comprising geologist and experts in mud should carry out the survey before constructing the roads,” he said, adding, “The roads should be constructed on the basis of reports prepared by them. “

Khatyad Rural Municipality Vice-Chairman Jayananda Rawal said that he as a coordinator of the monitoring committee was dissatisfied with the construction of roads.

“When I visited the site, the quality of the roads is pathetic as you said. I am dissatisfied with the works,” she said. She said that the main roads are being constructed only on the basis of detailed project report.  She said that the Rural Municipality has recently endorsed the environment-friendly policy.

Rawal expressed her commitment that only environment-friendly roads will be constructed in the coming days.

Ward chairmen attending the program expressed their commitment to carry out environment impact assessment and initial environmental examination before constructing the roads by following the environment-friendly policy. They also pledged to construct environment-friendly roads, plant trees after the construction of roads and provide appropriate compensation to the people affected by the road construction among other things.

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