Illegal mining of sand, gravel goes unchecked despite ban

- Dev Narayan Sah, Siraha

Aug 21, 2014-Extraction of sand, stone and gravel from the rivers in Siraha has been going unabated despite the government ban. According to the fifth edition of Nepal gazette published on July 7, the government had imposed a ban on the extraction of sand, gravel, and stones through July till September.

However, illegal mining has been going on unchecked in many rivers in the district, including Kamala, Khutti, Balaan, Gagun, Mainawati, Jhijhir, Sarrey, Bataha, Muksar, Jiba and Kichkiniya.

With the exception of Kamala and Balaan rivers, District Development Office (DDC) had awarded a contract worth Rs 12.6 million for sand and gravel mining to AH Construction Services before the ban was enforced.

But the contractor, Mohammed Abdul Sakur, has been extracting sand and gravel from the rivers, claiming that he has not received any official directive from the DDC about the prohibition.

Admitting that they had not officially informed the contractor, Mahendra Yadav of revenue section at the DDC said that they had not done so as the office employees were in protest.

According to the statistics of the District Forest Office (DFO), 10,364 hectares of the rivers and rivulets in Siraha are covered with stones. One can see a long queue of tractors and tippers transporting sand and stone extracted from many of these rivers. Excavation is also going on under the bridge over the river that falls along the East-West Highway. Authorities have yet to intervene.

Superintendent of Police Purna Chandra Joshi said they were unaware of the government directive. It was only after being enquired by media persons that he sought for the directive from DFO, and directed the police to take action to stop illegal mining.

Meanwhile, the DDC itself has gone against the directive and awarded

tenders for sand and gravel mining. The DDC has awarded contract worth Rs 2.6 million to excavate sand and gravels from 16 streams between Kamala and Balaan rivers.

Published: 22-08-2014 09:06

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