NEFEJ releases findings on environmental impacts caused by Madan Bhandari Highway through Chure hills

  • Published Date : January 1, 2020

Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) organized a press interaction in Sap Falcha, Babarmahal to make public the findings from the study carried out to assess the environmental impacts caused by the construction of Madan Bhandari Highway through Chure hills.

In the year 2019, NEFEJ had carried out three researches from a journalistic perspective; the last one being the study of environmental impacts caused by the construction of Madan Bhandari highway through the fragile Chure hills. For this, a week-long field visit was carried out on the beginning of September. The first two researches dealt with assessing the environmental impacts caused by the construction of Nijgadh International Airport and Modi River Hydropower Project.

According to journalist researcher Mr. Biswo Mani Pokharel, the highway has been constructed without carrying out EIA. For a high scale project like this, he shared that only the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) had been carried out. Speaking on this, Mr. Sindhu Dhungana, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment, pointed out that any project which requires clear felling of more than 5 hectares of forest compulsorily requires the project to carry out Environmental Impact Assessment. However, the Madan Bhandari Highway project was carried forward with the excuse of just extending the already-present road networks.

During the program, Honorable Former President of Nepal Dr. Ram Baran Yadav showed concern over the degrading condition of the Chure hills whose conservation is very important for water recharge. He lamented that if it is business as usual, Plain area of Nepal (Terai) could completely transform into a desert in the coming 25-30 years.

Concluding the program, Mr. Kosmos Biswokarma, President, NEFEJ, shared that NEFEJ will continue its advocacy for sustainable development which is why the research on Madan Bhandari Highway was carried out. After looking at the findings from the study, it can clearly be seen that the project was carried out by utilizing the loopholes in the law and it is time for the government to carry out projects by properly complying with the existing laws.