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Locals protest extraction of sand and aggregates

  • Sikta irrigation project
- THAKUR SINGH THARU, BANKE
Locals have complained the extraction of sand and aggregates has resulted in several pits up to 10 meter deep

Mar 28, 2016-The government’s decision to allow extraction of sand and aggregates form Muguwa stream for the construction of the Sikta Irrigation Project for two years has landed in controversy, with locals complaining about environmental degradation.

The locals have complained the extraction of sand and aggregates has resulted in several pits up to 10 meter deep in the stream.

The District Development Committee (DDC) has also expressed dissatisfaction that the government did not consult with it before taking the decision.

Works on the national pride project were being affected after its contractor -- Kalika Construction Company -- was barred from extracting pebbles, sand and boulders from nearby streams. In past too, the construction company had extracted sand and aggregates by setting up a crusher factory on the banks of the Muguwa stream.

A Cabinet meeting on March 17 had allowed the company to extract sand and aggregate from the stream for two years. However, the area awarded for the extraction of the construction raw materials lies in the forest and the Forest Act prohibits such extraction.

After the Cabinet’s decision, the DDC organised an all-party meeting on Friday, where local political leaders requested the government to reconsider the decision. The participants of the meeting said the government’s decision was unilateral and it ignored the Local Self Governance Act.

“The DDC had so far been awarding contracts for extraction of sand and aggregates levying certain charges, but after this decision, the DDC’s revenue will decrease,” said Jib Lal Bhusal, local development officer.

“If our source of revenue decreases, other development works are also affected. So we have requested the government to reconsider the decision.”

Earlier, the district forest office had also opposed the operation of the company’s crusher plant in the forest area. But later, the Forest Ministry allowed the contractor to continue with the job.

“As the ministry has given approval, we cannot say anything against it,” said Pushpa Raj Bartaula, forest officer of Banke.

Published: 28-03-2016 08:14

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