Decision : CONF 201 XII.6-10
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
XII.6 The Bureau noted that the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) of Nepal, via a letter dated 22 January 2002, informed the Centre that the Bureau’s concerns with the construction of the 33kv transmission lines between Jagatpur and Madi. This concern had been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Population and Environment, that is responsible for review and approval of the EIA for the project. IUCN has informed the Centre that this EIA is awaiting approval and notes that there is considerable public pressure in favour of the project going ahead.
XII.7 The Bureau also noted that a public hearing on the EIA report of the 33kv transmission line was held on 24 January 2002. Erection of transmission poles has already begun in Madi and in other parts outside of the northern sector of the Park. People at Madi regard electrification of the area as a step towards their economic prosperity. To date no poles have been erected inside the Park.
XII.8 Concerning the foundation for the Kasara Bridge on the Rapti River, which forms the northern boundary of the World Heritage site, the Bureau noted that it was laid by an earlier Prime Minister in response to requests from the local government and people. It has been reported that alternative sites were assessed as neither suitable nor cost effective for the construction of the bridge. If the bridge is completed and the road is permitted along the bank of the Rapti River, the vehicles using the route will be required to travel at least 4 to 5 kilometres within the Park in order to meet the existing public right of way. The Park authorities believe that it will inevitably cause tremendous pressure on the World Heritage site due to the easy access it will provide.
The Observer of Nepal informed the Bureau that his country has no objection to inviting a monitoring mission to the site.
XII.9 The Bureau expressed its support for measures that would reduce the impact of the transmission line on the World Heritage values of this site and noted that the installation of an underground transmission line, while more expensive, may have the least potential impact on the site. The Bureau urged the Nepal Electricity Authority to consider undertaking all measures to mitigate any significant environmental impacts on the Park, and to contribute to conservation activities in addition to the insulation of the wire along its entire length within the Park and the buffer zone. The Bureau invited the State Party to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment of the Kasara Bridge and the associated road in order to identify possible alternatives and/or mitigation measures to minimize the significant negative impacts that are foreseen due to these constructions. Pending the completion of an EIA for the Kasara Bridge construction project, the Bureau recommended that the State Party consider imposing a moratorium on construction and use of the bridge and road.
XII.10 The Bureau requested the State Party to consider inviting a monitoring mission to the site in order to fully assess the impacts of the various development proposals being planned in the vicinity of the Park, and consider alternatives that do not compromise the World Heritage values of the site.