Environmental activist Chanda Rana finally makes a major progress in her quest to make Chitwan National Park free from mikenia micrantha<br>A CORRESPONDENT

Feb. 28, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 04 No .-17 Feb.25-2011 (Falgun 13,2067)

Thanks to the efforts of environmental activist Chanda Rana, the Chitwan National Park has seen the possibility to free itself from infestation of a weed called mikenia micrantha.  A project ‘Controlling Mikenia Micrantha’ will be launched in one of the VDCs in Chitwan district as a pilot project soon. 

A week-long program will be held in Chitwan from 2nd week of March 2011 to launch the program.

Unlike other projects, this one will be launched by a consortium with involvement of local agencies including VDCs, Community Forest Chairpersons, buffer zone chairpersons, representative of local schools, Eco Club representative, Small Farmers’ Cooperatives representatives, Women Cooperatives representatives, SEF representatives and Local NGO – Project Implementing Partners.

From the process of identification to execution, the local consortium will have a major role.

The Save the Environment Foundation (SEF) will work to generate funds from donor agencies and to provide funds to local partner NGO for project implementation. SEF will also evaluate final monitoring and evaluation of project implementation. The project will be executive by Local NGOs.

She made the people aware at the national level with the first ever documentary, ‘A mile a minute: a serious threat to Chitwan national park', invited the forest minister as the chief guest, handed over copies of the documentary to concerned ministries and other conservation organizations and called for urgent steps to contain the serious invasion of the wild weed.

After launching the awareness campaign, Rana took part in the conservation campaign headed by then Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal along with Member of Parliaments. She participated in weeding program at Kasara. For her contribution,  Chanda Rana received ''Environment preservation award for women 2010 '' from the Ministry of Environment. The Prime Minister honoured her with the award for her contribution in making the documentary.

She continued her effort despite odds and generated awareness at the international level as well. She distributed her documentaries to various international organizations too.

In this regard, as an invitee  participant, she met high level  NASA and  USAID representatives who were present in Nepal for a climate change seminar organized by USAID. Rana highlighted the devastation a wild weed infestation was causing in Chitwan National Park. She handed over her documentaries to all the participants including NASA Administrator  Retd  Major   General  Charles . F.  Bolden Jr., a NASA astronaut too.

She stressed the need to act collectively by mobilizing all the stakeholders from conservationists, park representatives, technical experts to local NGOs working on it.

“We want international assistance and technical support. We will share our experience and replicate it elsewhere,” said Rana, who is also the chairperson of the Foundation.

“If immediate action is not taken 50% of entire ecosystem of Chitwan National Park along with its habitat and rhino population will disappear in five years. I took up this battle alone. Now I would like to act collectively making Chitwan as a base field to work.”

Inspired by her father, Rana has been participating in different conservation works since eight years old. “I have a passion for jungle and its rich uniqueness where I have spent months with my father in different hunting camps. My father was a great nature lover,” said Rana.

“Besides that, I am  fascinated by  Chitwan and have been working there since a decade alone to save the natural beauty of Chitwan. I am the first one to submit  a memorandum to then  PM Surya  Bahadur  Thapa in 2002 after doing a survey on ''Environmental degradation at Chitwan, '' said Rana.

In her memorandum, she urged the prime minister to immediately implement ''land use planning to make a permanent land fill site and control pollution at the Narayani river.

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