Illegal mining of sand, stones goes unchecked in Morang, SunsariIllegal extraction of sand and stones from various rivers in Morang and Sunsari districts has gone unchecked, posing risks to human settlements and environment.
Scenes of people extracting sands and stones from various river banks illegally, using excavators and uploading on trucks and tractors are common. Though the government has banned the use of excavators to collect such materials from rivers, a worker of a crusher industry near the Gachhiya river said such heavy equipment are still in use in collaboration with influencing people.
He said people pile up sand and stones illegally and supply them to crusher industries on trucks and tractors for money.
Dilmaya Magar of Kamalpur in Letang said local people have been facing shortage of drinking water after the illegal extraction of sand and stones from local rivers went unchecked. “We had constructed a reserve water tank built two years ago but the source of water has almost dried up,” she said.
Kabiraj Kafle of Letang-1 said around 200 houses at Kamalpur and 300 houses at Kirtiman are at risk of flood and landslide due to illegal extraction of sands and silts in the Chisang river. Madhav Aggregate and Om Crusher Industry have been accused of illegal mining using using excavators in the area.
Likewise, Samir Rai said of Keraun VDC-1 said 145 families in the area are at risk due to the illegal mining. “The settlement might be flooded during the monsoon. So an embankment should be constructed in the river,” he said.
Settlements in Bayarban VDC-6, 7, 8 and 9, Bahuni VDC-8 and 9, Hoklabari VDC-5, 6 and 9 and Darbesa VDC-1 may be affected due to illegal mining of sand and stones in the river, local people said. However, Krishna Prasain, owner of the Madhav Aggregate, said they are not extracting sands and silts illegally.
Sujendra Tamang, a Nepali Congress cadre who submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during his visit to Budhikhola in Sunsari last week seeking help to ban illegal crusher industries, said that the illegal extraction of sands and stones has created serious problems in the district. “A road leading to Panchkanya was swept away due to illegal mining in the Seuti river,” he said.
When asked, Sunsari’s Customs Office chief Bhim Adhikari claimed extraction of silts and sands has been stopped at present.
Roshan Joshi, an official at the Environment Section of the Morang District Development Committee, said his office has not received any complaints about illegal crusher industries.
Morang’s Chief District Officer Ganeshraj Karki said his office has written to the owners of concerned crusher industries to operate legally. He said they are monitoring crusher industries and have written to police and the Armed Police Force to curb illegal extraction of sands and silts from rivers.