Winter Charm Eludes Solukhumbu, Upsets Populace   

Neither Snowfall nor Rains

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Winter Charm Eludes Solukhumbu, Upsets Populace   

February 15: Shankhar Bahadur Gurung of Salleri in Solukhumbu finds the present weather quite unusual in the district. "Winter is exiting soon, but we have neither experienced winter rain nor snowfall this time. What's happening?" he is intrigued.    
The septuagenarian shares that this is the first time he has noticed such aberration in the weather pattern in his life. In the absence of snowfall, Solukhumbu, the mountainous district in the Koshi Province, no longer seems as it used to be. The hills and mountains usually blanketed with snow now look bare, wearing a deserted look.    

"We have started feeling a rise in temperature with the beginning of the month of Falgun (mid-February to mid-March) and lost hope of snowfall this year," he said.    
According to the Meteorological Station at Salleri, the temperature is on the rise for the past five days. Locals said that winter days are not as chilly as they used to be. Until four to five years ago, they used to have chilling cold, but this time, the days are hotter.    
Farmers in the region had hoped for snowfall and rains, as the lack of snowfall adversely affects winter crops such as wheat, potato, and barley.    
Prem Kumar Basnet of Likhupike rural municipality-4 shared their plight that cardamom farming was suffering due to lack of winter rains. Cardamom farming takes place in Likhupike, Sotang, Mahakulung, Mapya Dudhkoshi, and Nechasalyan areas, usually conducted on 158 hectares of land.    
Tourism entrepreneurs are also worried about the unusual weather pattern. Sagarmatha (Mt Everest), the world's highest peak, lies in the Khumbu region of the district, which failed to witness sufficient snowfall this time. Although the highland recorded a light snowfall, it was meagre and partial, according to Lamakaji Sherpa of Namche. The area is now entirely dry, and tourism entrepreneurs fear losing the winter charm that usually attracts visitors.    

Damu Sherpa from Lukla said that snowfall in the Khumbu region is an essential attraction for tourists, both domestic and international. However, this time, the situation is different.    
Moreover, the populace here is gripped with fear of wildfires likely to be flared up by the dry winter. Last Saturday, the Khamding Mulabari Community Forest at Kanku of Mapya Dudhkoshi rural municipality-5 and Mendopake Community Forest at Chyalsa of Mendopake of Solududhkunda municipality-7 reported fires. According to Ramji Shah, officiating forest divisional officer at the Forest Division Office, the fires destroyed a large stretch of vegetation and also affected the precious wildlife.    
The office data shows that community forest areas cover 105,330 hectares of land, with a total of 72 community forests in the district alone.    
Environmental expert Rajan Thapa informed that forest fires not only create adversity but also impact wildlife, human settlements, and the overall ecology. -- RSS

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