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Chitwan National Park

Nepal
Factors affecting the property in 2002*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Major linear utilities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Proposed irrigation project to divert the Rapti river (issue resolved)
  • Poaching (issue resolved) 
  • Outdated Management plan (issue resolved)
  • Increase in the natural rate of mortality of the rhinoceros  (issue resolved)
  • Pollution of the Narayani River (issue resolved)
  • Transmission line project
  • Bridge construction project
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2002
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1989)
Total amount approved : 80,000 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2002

Previous deliberation:
25th session of the Bureau- Chapter – V.126 – 127
25th session of the Committee – Annex IX, paragraph 66 - 70

Main issues:

Road construction and transmission line construction through the Park and associated impacts.

New information:

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) of Nepal, via a letter dated 22 January 2002, acknowledged receipt of the recommendations of the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau and informed the Centre that the Bureau’s concerns with the construction of the 33kv transmission lines between Jagatpur and Madi had been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Population and Environment which was responsible for review and approval of the EIA of 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.

In another letter dated 28 January 2002, the DNPWC has informed the Centre that a public hearing on the EIA report of the 33kv transmission line was held on 24 January 2002. The Park staff presented the Bureau’s concerns to the public and proposed underground wiring for the distance of 6 km where the transmission line is expected to traverse through the Park. The representative of the Nepal Electricity Authority had responded that it would be very expensive and suggested insulated wiring for the same 6 km. DNPWC has learnt that the alignment for transmission line will pass along the Dhruba-Bankatta public right of way. 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 to their economic prosperity.

IUCN has gathered additional information and notes that the public right of way serves the communities of Madi valley (involving four Village Development Committees consisting of approximately 50 to 60 thousand people). The trees to be felled along the route chosen for the transmission line in the Park are neither listed in the national regulations nor in the appendices of the CITES Convention. It would be possible for fewer trees to be felled than is currently proposed by the Nepal Electricity Authority.  To date no poles have been erected inside the Park. IUCN has been informed that the Park authorities, as a final compromise solution, are seeking from the Nepal Electricity Authority the insulation of the wire along its entire length within the park and its buffer zone, primarily as a step to minimize mortality of avifauna, as well as support for conservation activities in the Royal Chitwan National Park.

IUCN has received information that the foundation for the Kasara Bridge on the Rapti River, which forms the northern boundary of the World Heritage site, 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 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.  IUCN has been informed that the bridge will be ready in a couple of months, and notes that the Park authorities believe that it will inevitably cause tremendous pressure on the World Heritage site due to the easy access it will provide.

Action Required

The Bureau expresses its support for measures that would reduce the impact of the transmission line on the World Heritage values of this site and notes that the installation of a underground transmission line, while more expensive, may have the least potential impacts on the site. The Bureau urges 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 invites 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 recommends that the State Party consider imposing a moratorium on construction and use of the bridge and road. The Bureau requests the State Party to consider inviting a monitoring mission to the site in order to fully assess the impacts of the various development proposals that are being planned in the vicinity of the Park and consider alternatives that do not compromise the World Heritage values of the site.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2002
26 COM 21B.18
Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
The World Heritage Committee,

Notes the state of conservation report and the decision by the Bureau contained in document WHC-02/CONF.202/2, paragraphs XII.6 - XII.10.

26 BUR 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.

The Committee is requested to note the decision by the Bureau in document WHC-02/CONF.202/2, paragraphs XII.6 – XII.10

Report year: 2002
Nepal
Date of Inscription: 1984
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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