Balen is, hands down, one of my favorite Nepali rappers; but his identity is not just limited to being an artist.
Three years back, in August of 2017, while listening to a song of his, I wondered where he disappeared. He hadn’t released new music in a long time and wasn’t much active on social media as well. And I couldn’t find a better way to find out than to talk to the man himself and that’s when I got got to know what he was up to.
He had given the rapper Balen a break for a while to work on something more important as the structural engineer Balen. He was in Paanchkhal Municipality, Kavre working on a project to build 250 houses to be handed over to the 2015 earthquake victims.
And now he is gearing up for another important project to build Nepal’s first wildlife crossing overpass at Khata Corridor in Bardiya.
“A wild life crossing over pass or under pass is a structure to isolate animals and human traffic from each other and avoid collision. It is really important if the road is passing through wild life corridor or conservation area to protect animal habitat and their free movement. Basically it is life cycle saving structure”, he told NeoStuffs.
The project backed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism Forest and Environment, Province No. 5, and Division Forest Office, Bardia is being carried out by Balen’s team at Gaumukhi Engineering Services Private Limited. The construction starts next year with the target to wrap it up within eight months.
“There are four under pass culverts in Narayanghat Muglin Road, for small animals to pass under Road. This is Nepal’s first over pass design to be implemented. The idea is to let animals not see the vehicles in front or above them. The vibrations , noise and light produced by vehicles are avoided in an overpass structure which is not possible in an underpass”, informs Balen. “Khata Corridor has the largest number of tigers in Province 5. That is 22 in number. More than three dozen elephants pass through Khata Corridor at a time.”
“No development is good if it affects the wildlife or environment. We’d rather be poor in infrastructure and rich in wildlife and forest than to be super developed nation disturbing our flora and fauna.”
Good guy Balen.
He has also been active in music lately and has released a number of tracks including ‘Marpha Ko Madira’, ‘Gorkhali Toph’, ‘Aastik’ and ‘Balidan’ in last few months. “I am currently working on three new songs; ‘Sabai Lai Hataar Chha’, ‘Maya Laye Bhaigo Ni’ and ‘Savage’. I am also writing my first book which is a collection of poems.”
Way to go, man. Cheers!