Save the Karnali, say conservationists


KATHMANDU: Almost all of the rivers in the nation have been exploited/reserved for hydropower development and in few decades it would be no wonder that no river in the country would remain in its pristine form. River conservation activist and adventure tourism entrepreneurs are worried about the brand name 'white water rafting' as the hydropower development would leave no river free flowing.

"To date almost all the big rivers have been exploited for hydropower but Karnali remains unexploited. So we want that Karnali be declared a free flowing river," said Megh Ale, President, Nepal River Conservation Trust. Karnali has been categorised as one of the top five rivers as per International rafting standards. "Our international brand name is naturally Nepal, but what would remain to say natural if all the rivers will be turned into the concrete dams, "reiterated Ale.

However, the government has already announced for tenders for the proposed Karnali-Chisapani and Middle Karnali Hydropower Project. Authorities are unwilling to consider the issue as the government has a strategy for bigger hydropower plants.

Not necessarily that river have to be exploited for power, our rivers could be a good agents of link between Indian and China, said Anil Chitrakar, an environmentalist. Conservationist maintained that the last free flowing river in Nepal should be declared as a Himalayan river heritage. They also urged the government to declare Karnali watershed as the national park and promote ecotourism.

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