DFO opposes silt mining bid

- BECHU GAUD, Nawalparasi

Jun 5, 2014-While the District Development Committee (DDC) is preparing to start a bidding process for the extraction of sand and gravel from rivers in the district, the District Forest Office (DFO) has opposed the move arguing that rampant mining may destroy the Chure region.

Submitting a report to the Forest Ministry, the DFO has stated that extraction of such materials should be banned completely in 12 rivers and partially in some others. A Cabinet meeting on May 22 had decided to seek a report on the matter from the DFO.

District Forest Officer Dhananjaya Poudel said the 12 rivers from where extraction of sand and gravel should be completely prohibited include Jharahi, Jyamire, Khajura, Turiya, Bisasaya, Tilakna, Arun, Gadar, Pathar, Lokaha and Binayi.

He said the report has stated that mining of such materials should be allowed partially from rivers, including Giruwa, Bhalahi, Panvara and Kerwani. Forest officials said they would interfere if the DDC carried out the bidding process unilaterally.

“We will not let the Chure region face deforestation just for the benefit of the DDC. We will interfere by calling an all-party meeting,” Poudel said.

A source said the DDC is influencing party representatives to get their support, arguing that its revenue collection will go down if it fails to contract out the extraction.

Local Development Officer Ramuraj Kadariya said many development projects may be affected if the DDC’s internal revenue source is limited. “It is a responsibility of the DFO to conserve the forest. The DDC has rights to contract out extraction of sand and gravel from local rivers,” he said.

DDC officials said they collect revenue worth Rs 40 million from extraction of sand and gravel annually.

CPN-UML district Chairman Tilak Mahat expressed concerns towards illegal mining. It is need of the hour to ban extraction of sand and gravel from some local rivers for some years in order to protect the Chure region, he said.

Published: 06-06-2014 09:07

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