Illegal extraction of sand on the rise

- PRAKASH BARAL, TANAHU

Jul 30, 2017-

Illegal extraction of sand and aggregates from various river beds has increased recently with wanton disregard for the law. People are extracting sand and aggregates from different rivers and streams in various locations such as, Byas and Suklagandaki municipalities and Myagde and Aabukhaireni village councils.

The illegal extraction usually occurs at night but smugglers are becoming bolder and doing so in broad daylight by tricking police and local representatives.

Although it is illegal to extract sand and aggregates from mid-June to mid-September, smugglers are involved in rampant extraction at the bank of Madi and Seti River. They use local goons to scare away the opposing locals.   

Mayor of Byas Municipality and police were monitoring the areas following complaints from locals and managed to nab a couple of people along with two tractors. Around half a dozen 

people fled the site of illegal extraction.

The police handed over the duo to District Coordination Committee and they were freed immediately after levying them with the fine.  

“We are trying to get hold of the culprits involved in illegal extraction by working closely with the police administration. These are our resources as well as our source of income,” said Mohan Kumar Shrestha, ward number five chief of Myagde Village Council, “After the monsoon, we are planning to identify the less risky areas and call tender for the extraction of sand and aggregates. But for now our challenge is to stop the illegal extraction.”  

Locals reported that the haphazard extraction of these materials for commercial 

purposes posed a serious threat to the environment and human settlement besides affecting the local bodies’ 

revenue collection.

The rampant extraction posed a threat to human settlements, community forests and around half a dozen concrete bridges in the district. Hundreds of houses at Suklagandaki have become vulnerable to flood and landslide due to such extraction. “If the illegal extraction is not controlled in time, the concrete bridge on Myagde River will also be at risk,” said Shrestha. There have been already instances of landslide in the community forest and trees worth millions are at risk of being swept away in flood and landslide. 

Ritesh Kumar Shakya, Chief District Officer of Tanahu said they have deployed police to stop the illegal extraction of river material. “We mobilised police immediately after receiving complaints from the local representatives,” Shakya, “We will stop the illegal extraction and will punish those involved in such act.” 

According to government rule, no one is allowed to extract river material until mid-September and everyone should abide by this rule, according to Shakya.

Published: 30-07-2017 09:24

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