What Lies at the Crux of the Chure dispute?

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What Lies at the Crux of the Chure dispute?

--BY MADAN LAMSAL

Initially, they were playing a tug-of-war for the Singha Durbar chair. Now, it's a case of pelting stones collected from the Chure mountain range at each other!

Those in opposition say that the government will eventually flatten the entire Chure range in the name of exporting stones and pebbles. That the Tarai, the southern plains in the country, will expand even more. That’s alright. It’s better if the Tarai expands further. First, we will sell stones and pebbles and make money. Then we can grow more rice, wheat and maize in the expanded Tarai and feed the country as well as start exporting. Our entire trade deficit will be taken care of if we can do this!

Many protested against the government saying it cannot introduce a full-fledged budget through an ordinance. But the government didn’t give a damn to them. Or did it? Those in the opposition even asked those in the government to quit if they couldn’t prove their majority in parliament. But did those in the government quit the government? The government will keep lumbering forward like an elephant while those shouting in protest will keep on shouting. The only thing those shouting can do is shout. There is nothing else that they can do. After Chure, we can level the Mahabharat Range and start the land plotting! There was a huge uproar over the plotting of a small piece of land in Baluwatar. So, protests against the leveling of the Mahabharat Range and land-plotting there are expected for sure. But we shouldn’t care about such protests. Those protesting will keep on protesting. And those working will keep on working!        

Again, what is so valuable in the hills and mountains that we should keep them intact and preserved? Truthfully speaking, Nepal’s development hasn’t been possible because it has too many hills and mountains. Didn’t we read this in our textbooks in schools and colleges? Just imagine how difficult agriculture and farming is in the hills and mountains? How arduous it is walking up and down the hills and mountains. How long should we listen to the news of landslides sweeping away settlements in the hills and mountains? Once we flatten all the hills and mountains, there will be no worries of a landslide taking place and sweeping away settlements!   

In fact, it's better off if the hills are finally flattened, since it will be easier to build roads and lay rail tracks and run trains there like in the Tarai. Then, instead of the mid-hill highway, high-hill highway and mountain highways, we can build the Southern Tarai Railway, Mid-Tarai Railway and Northern Tarai Railway!    

There are also those who are needlessly worrying that the sources of water, like rivers and rivulets will dry up once the hills and mountains are flattened. There is no need to worry about this at all. Because the multinational companies which are in the water business will deliver water to our doorsteps!  

The herculean task of leveling so many hills and mountains will require hundreds of thousands of excavators, bulldozers and tipper trucks and drivers and their assistants. Just imagine how many jobs will be created? Then not just ‘one household, one employment’ will be created but we will achieve a ‘one person, many jobs’ situation. As a result, a single person will have four to five jobs! So, the government better start making a work plan to provide driving training to all Nepalis from right now!   

There are also some who are asking how will we produce hydroelectricity if all hills and mountains turn into plains? Don’t they know that the hills and mountains in Nepal have uranium? Or are they feigning ignorance? Whatever! The solution is – we will extract uranium from the hills and mountains and produce electricity through nuclear reactors! Nepal will step into the uranium age! Didn't the government foresee this when it issued the ‘National Nuclear Policy 2007’ more than 14 years ago!

Some opponents of the government claim that Nepal’s tourism industry will be at the receiving end if the hills and mountains are flattened. I pity their lack of wisdom. Won’t the whole world throng to Nepal to see the flat plains created by the miraculous leveling of the huge hills and mighty mountains? And won’t they feel a bigger thrill than climbing Everest when our tourist guides tell them, “See, this is the place where once Annapurna stood! This is the place of Dhaulagiri! And these ones are the places where once there were Shivapuri and Chandragiri!” This will be more than enough to give the tourists their ‘adrenaline rush’!

Yes, we can level the entire range of mountains in the north, if our trade deficit cannot be tamed by raging down only the Chure and Mahabharat ranges of hills! Then there will be no more barriers to our trade with China and our trade deficit will be resolved forever!

The environmentalists are babbling on for nothing. Excavators did dig up our hills across the country also in the past. For the past many years, felling down of trees in not only the Chure but also in the Mahabharat range and the charkoshe jhadi for timber smuggling has been continuing unabated. Wildfires in our jungles are reported every year. Where do these environmentalists hide on such occasions? Or is it that they don’t care no matter how much timber is smuggled out of the country or how many wildfires occur in our forests, but the stones, pebbles and sand must remain off limits?               

How are we supposed to get construction materials if we don’t exploit nature? Or should we leave our mineral ores and vast natural resources virgin and untouched? Haven’t we seen environmentalists who created a mess around Arun III which eventually fell in the hands of the southern neighbour? So it's safe to say that not for nothing have they raised the spectre of Chure love this time too. There is definitely some mystery behind it. Or is it so that the ruckus over Chure has been created because those who see nationalism in almost everything for nothing see it in stones and pebbles as well?        

Or maybe all the fuss about Chure has come about because people don’t need to be educated enough to practice politics or become ambassadors, ministers etc, and such people haven’t been able to make the people understand what is wrong and what is right? Please, if there are any experts out there in the matter of stones and pebbles, please tell us what lies at the heart of the Chure dispute?

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