Himal Khabarpatrika, 22 June
Interview with former Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal who was appointed chairman of the recently formed Chure Hill Conservation Committee.
HKP: Why was the Chure Hill Conservation Committee formed?
RK: The Chure region is an ecologically sensitive area, and the rampant degradation of the fragile hills has a direct impact in the Tarai. People downstream are already facing a range of problems including water sources drying up, frequent floods and landslides.
Why do you think you were chosen to lead this committee?
RK: The Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation would be able to give an exact answer on this matter. But I feel that I might have been selected for this post since I was the finance secretary when the budget was allocated for Chure conservation.
What rights will the committee have?
RK: The main task of the committee is to stop the ongoing, indiscriminate extraction of sand and boulders in the Chure range. The committee will be responsible for designing and implementing programs, and it plans to save it from this destructive practice. It will also direct appropriate bodies to implement the committee’s decisions. The second objective is to ease the burden on and improve the lives of affected local communities.
What will be done about the jurisdiction of concerned districts and village development committees?
RK: We will coordinate with all the DDCs and VDCs for Chure conservation. However, the conservation efforts shouldn’t be affected regardless of which concerned body objects.
Similar committees to protect the Chure range in the past struggled to yield substantial results. How will this committee be different?
RK: The Chure Hill Conservation Committee won’t be ineffective as others have been because I plan to involve committed, capable and qualified people.
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