The Nepal Weekly l June 29, 2021
All development and agriculture workers in Nepal talk well about checking soil erosion but in practice they fail to preserve soil in areas under the Himalayas, Hills and Terai. As a result of the same various natural disasters such as flood and land slide destruct, on a regular basis, human settlements and their work places such as farms, factories, other production-areas from time to time. The way the flood affected Melamchi, Manang and other areas in 33 districts in Nepal this time at the outset of the Monsoon season is really unfortunate and frustrating. Heavy rainfall was not predicted. So people were not ready for such a great disaster. Institutions and people dedicated for preparedness against disaster were not in position to face the flood and landslide. The situation therefore resulted in heavy losses – human, natural and financial. It has a message for those who govern Nepal, plan for Nepal and undertake development works in the country. Soil-study particularly its strength should constitute the primary task for initiating any development work, economic enterprise, development work and agriculture work. Any work that produces situation, directly or indirectly, for soil erosion or land slide or flood should be stopped at the outset and at the grassroot. If this is ignored, Nepalis will face severe hardships in days to come. Over decades, Nepalis insulted soil and undertook development activities, agriculture works and other economic pursuits without proper study of the land and risks in developing it for economic benefits. They used bulldozers to carve out road in hills and mountains with no respect for the soil-preservation in those areas. They created settlements by cutting hills and mountains as per their wish. None in private sector and government sector felt it essential for undertaking feasibility study of soil prior to their development works and other types of venture. They never thought of the adverse impact of cutting hills rampantly. It never occurred to them hill-cutting in between the Terai and Himalayas would create a different type of effect on nature. The same, they never thought, could be the cause of flooding and landslide. Melamchi and Manang flood this time should serve as a wake-up call for Nepalis to preserve soil and avoid flood and landslides in future.