On May 29, while announcing the budget for the fiscal year 2020/21, Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel announced ambitious but controversial plan to reduce the trade deficit. The trade deficit had been surging every year. In an effort to curb the trade deficit, the finance minister announced that the government would export rock, gravel, sand and other aggregates to neighbouring countries.
Since then, the Chure area has become a subject of national debate. The decision drew a widespread criticism from environmentalist and opposition parties who argue that it would lead to a severe environmental degradation.
Chure region incorporates hills up to 1,220 metres extending east-west across the country. It occupies about 12 per cent of the country’s total area. There has been relentless mining of sand, pebbles and boulders from its rivers and hills. Although the government has put a ban in mining but many say that it is still continuing and exported to India. This activities caused natural disasters like floods and landslides. As government plans to reopen export as announced in the budget, it will cause irreparable damage to environment and people living in Tarai region of Nepal. It will result in the scarcity of water and decline in the habitat.
Chure, which occupies a huge part of Nepal, should be viewed from a bigger frame and it should be made a political agenda. The government should prioritize it and make a concrete plan to conserve it. The government should make this region and environment a political agenda rather than viewing it through a microscopic view as an environmental issue. Abroad, leaders make the environment a political agenda and allocate a huge budget for it but here, this practice is still a stranger. Soon, the government should be made close with it before it’s too late.
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