National Geographic : 1950 Jan
Peerless Nepal-A Naturalist's Paradise S. Dillon Riplcy Erosion, Nepal's Worst Enemy, Rips Ever-widening Gullies Out of Fertile Farmlands Rivers are allowed to fill with precious topsoil and forests retreat to the hilltops. With the vanishing trees go Nepal's game birds and furred animals (page 21). would then have enough to go back the way they came, and again at the same little trading town to buy cloth, cooking pots, or salt and return to their native villages by spring. When we came again to Kauriala Ghat, the train was crowded with these wanderers; so crowded that arms and legs and small bundles were sticking out at all angles from the train doors and windows. Fortunately, such trains move slowly, and there were no smashups on the line. By mid-January we had reached eastern Nepal, our hundreds of specimens from the west safely packed ready for shipment home. Industries of Eastern Nepal Eastern Nepal was a far more developed area than the western, although the expres sion is, of course, relative. Here there was an actual town, Biratnagar, which has become Nepal's industrial center. There were one jute mill and another being built, a cotton-spinning mill, a sugar mill, and a number of small home-type industries, besides a powerhouse. The daily production of jute was about 20 tons, or, translated into the number of bags produced, 17,280. These are the familiar burlap bags of world commerce. Nepal's lack of income tax and her favor- able customs arrangements have attracted Indian capital under an arrangement with the Nepal Government. The sugar and cot ton twist were for local internal consumption. Most of the labor was Indian, a fact which presented political and other problems to the Government; but plans were under way to recruit Nepalese labor with greatly improved working conditions, school and hospital ar rangements, and other amenities. In addition to Biratnagar, east Nepal is now the site of the projected Kosi Dam, which when completed will be between 750 and 800 feet high, higher than the Hoover Dam in the Colorado River. This monster dam, to be financed and constructed primarily by the Indian Government with American engineering advice, is to be designed for flood control first and foremost. The annual ram pages of the Kosi River have always been among the worst in India. There are also said to be great irrigation and hydroelectric potentialities. The survey alone has consumed two years, and it is still too early to know whether the scheme will be acted upon. If it is carried out, eastern Nepal will become a modern community with roads, railroads, electric light, and other modern facilities.