In Lamjung, people’s representatives lobby to resume illegal crusher industriesThe industry owners and construction contractors are pressuring the municipality office to reopen them.
Two crusher industries at Falisaghu in Besisahar have been closed for two and a half months after the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority questioned their legitimacy. The industry owners and construction contractors are predictably unhappy and have been pressuring the municipal office to reopen them. The entrepreneurs have found acolytes in local level representatives. The municipality, however, hasn’t made any comment so far.
“Development projects have ground to a halt since the closure of the crusher industries,” Balaram Shrestha, chair of Ward No. 1 of Besisahar Municipality, told the Post. “We are opting to resume the industries.”
Besisahar Mayor Guman Singh Aryal echoes Shrestha. Aryal had chaired a meeting in December 2019 that decided to reopen the industries that were closed by the District Administration Office. But a few weeks later, the CIAA altered the decision, calling the industries to close.
Aryal said the federal government is interfering with the local unit’s decision. “The government has denied us from exercising our rights,” he said. “As a student of Law, I know we shouldn’t allow illegal crusher industries to operate, but the closure has meant an irreversible impact on development projects worth millions of rupees.”
Aryal added that the federal government has been partial in its jurisdiction. There are hundreds of illegal industries operating on the banks of rivers in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Chitwan, he said. “But why is the government targeting the industries in Lamjung only?”
According to Aryal, the municipality has asked crusher industry operators to run the crushers until June and then shift to other places.
“The closure of the industries has meant a massive spike in the price of construction materials,” Aryal said.
But Rajesh Thapa, chair of Lamjung Chamber of Commerce, said that the local unit has failed to act even after being notified by the chamber about the illegal extraction of riverbed material.