Sand mines operating using fake papersSand mines are operating illegally in areas around Prithvi Highway using fake company registration documents, a government report shows.
Sand mines are operating illegally in areas around Prithvi Highway using fake company registration documents, a government report shows. This was found during inspections conducted by District Administration Office (DAO) Dhading beginning July 2017. The inspection team also included officials of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, police officials and representatives of local bodies.
These enterprises are not operating as per documents they had submitted at the district office of Cottage and Small Industry Development Committee and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). They have also illegally occupied public land on the banks of Trishuli and other rivers to operate the mines.
“We couldn’t find 32 factories that have established connection with NEA’s grid,” said Ram Mani Mishra, section officer at DAO Dhading. These factories are formally registered as rice mills. “We came to know illegal mine operators had bribed NEA officials to divert electricity supply meant for rice mills to sand mines. The electricity is
now being used to wash sand illegally extracted from the rivers.”
This is not the first time the government has caught operators of illegal sand mines. But the government always fails to take action against them.
“The administration can shut down factories that are operating illegally but rarely such an action is taken,” said Shrawn Tripathi, a Dhading local and coordinator of the Save Trishuli Campaign.
Currently, only 73 factories have obtained license from the DAO Dhading to mine and wash sand. But over 400 sand mining and washing factories are operating in the district, Tripathi said.
Even legally registered factories are extracting sand well beyond the threshold extended to them, according to locals.
Each factory in the district is allowed to wash 110 to 600 cubic meters of sand annually. “But a single factory is supplying 15 to 20 tippers of sand daily,” said Sushil Thapa, another member of the Save Trishuli Campaign. “These factories cannot violate the rules blatantly without the backing of officials of the local administration.”
Illegal sand mining, according to Thapa, has become rampant after local level elections, as those involved in the business are close to people’s representatives. “Against this backdrop, it is difficult to curb illegal mining,” said Thapa.
Locals also accused local leaders of showing apathy towards solving these problems that are destroying river beds, although they had made promises of protecting rivers and streams, and keeping them clean during the election.
The members of the Save Trishuli Campaign have met with Environment Minister Lal Babu Pandit and Province 3 Chief Minister Dormani Poudel and urged them to control illegal extraction of sand from public land.