BAJURA: Dozens of road construction projects have been launched without conducting environmental impact assessment (EIA) in Bajura district. 68 road projects are currently ongoing in the district out of which 54 projects in nine local levels are being carried out without EIA.
As many as 10 road projects in Budhiganga Municipality, 17 in Badimalika Municipality, seven in Triveni Municipality, 13 in Khaptad Chhededaha Rural Municipality, and two in Jagannath Rural Municipality are being constructed without prior study and appropriate planning.
A dozer is being used in the construction of Martadi-Kolti road section, which is being carried out without an Environmental Impact Assessment study. Photo: Prakash Singh/THT
Three road projects, included in the multi-year projects by Sudurpaschim Province government, are also being carried out without EIA. Tender for these projects which are being overseen by the provincial Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development — also considered pride projects of the region — have already been approved.
The process of tender for Martadi-Kolti road section, Sera-Aatichaur-Thamlekh road section, and Martadi-Ghatmuna road section has already been completed and construction has begun.
Assessment of the projects is underway and will soon be finished, claimed acting chief of Achham Infrastructure Development Office, Janga Bahadur Thapa.
According to under-secretary Jwala Shrestha at the environmental impact assessment division under the provincial Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forests, and Environment, there is no provision of calling tender for a construction project before an EIA has been carried out.
If a project has a budget of over Rs 250 million, an EIA has to be conducted and approved by the forest ministry, however, if the projects are smaller, a preliminary environmental assessment has to be carried out and then approved by the related ministry, added Shrestha.
According to Khaptad Chhededaha Rural Municipality chair Nar Bahadur Raut, only few projects conduct EIA while others are carrying on without the study and no one is stopping them. He further said, in many of the projects sans EIA, works are being done hazardously and without care for the environment.