KATHMANDU: The Minister for Forest and Environment Pradeep Yadav claimed that no file at his chamber was stuck without action regarding forest clearance and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of any project. Minister Yadav said as the chief guest at a discussion session organized at the 4th edition of the Nepal Infrastructure Summit (NIS) on Friday. Yadav is being criticized for not approving more than three dozen files regarding environment approval. “I have not blocked any file from moving forward including those regarding EIA. If there is any unapproved file at my chamber and even at my ministry, I encourage you to report me. I am ready to resolve the problem,” said Yadav.
Minister Yadav also expressed dissatisfaction over the haphazard cutting of trees and uncontrolled use of bulldozers in the name of development. “I am always in favor of development. But such development must be sustainable. We are facing the serious problem of floods and landslides created by the destruction of forest and hills to construct roads and other infrastructures without considering its impact,” Minster Yadav said.
Stating that physical development and environmental protection should be harmonized, he said that the country will not be prosperous if the development brings destruction. “We must not develop physical infrastructure without protecting the environment,” he added.
“Green infrastructure is in the interest of the country”
Ty Yong Jong, Prof. Dr. Yonsei University of South Korea said that it is expensive to build green infrastructure though it is in everyone’s interest. “The important question is who will invest in building expensive green infrastructure. If we can develop human resources and do digital transformation, it will help build green infrastructure,” said Ty. There will be a water shortage if unstained development.
World Bank’s Sustainable Development expert Stephen Danio said that the negative effects of climate change cannot be reduced unless green infrastructure is built. “Nepal will have to spend USD 7.2 billion on building green infrastructure,” Danio said. Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Dr. Maheshwar Dhakal opined that processes and standards like EIA and social impact assessment must be completed to build green infrastructure.
Ramkrishna Khatiwada, Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Infrastructure Development Bank, said that the government of Nepal is taking a policy to help build green infrastructure. “Governmental, non-governmental, multilateral donor resources will be needed for green infrastructure,” Khatiwada said, “The Central Bank has made arrangements to issue green bonds as well. There is no alternative to building green infrastructure these days,” said Khatiwada.
In the program, Ram Prasad Dhital of the Electricity Regulatory Commission said that increasing the use of green energy means reducing the consumption of biofuels. “In order to increase the use of green energy, we need to invest in infrastructure that provides green energy. It will make a positive contribution in other areas as well,” said Dhital.