Sindhulimadi, November 30
The residents of Kusheshwor Dumja in Sindhuli have called on the local administration to stop the ongoing excavation of river products from the local Ghyampekhola River, citing threat to nearby human settlements.
They have launched a protest against mining and export of river products by Siddhi Binayak Construction Service of Kavre.
While chiefs of various government agencies, including the District Development Office, District Police Office, District Development Committee, District Forest Office and Cottage and Small Industry Development Committee have been briefed about the problem, the locals have also formed a struggle committee for the cause.
“As the mining activity continues, human settlements in Ruptar, Baluwatar, Aapghari, Gyampatar, Baseri, Arukhola and other places are at high risk,” said the committee chairman Ramesh Koirala, adding that the mining of stone, gravel, sand and other river products has not only affected the forest areas, but also impacted drinking water sources.
He demanded that the concerned authorities do the needful to stop river mining at the earliest. “Though the construction company claims that it has been following the DDC’s directives, the use of heavy equipment on the banks of the river and extraction of river products in a huge amount every day has also affected the highway (BP highway),” added Koirala, warning of a stern protest unless the mining activity is stopped.
Meanwhile, the locals’ protest has worried the District Development Committee as the mining contract has been one of its main sources of income in the past seven years. The DDC had awarded the contract for Rs 6.4 million this year.
On his part, SP Umashankar Panjiyar pledged action against the company if it was found flouting the DDC’s directives. “Nobody will be spared if they are found working against the DDC directives and endangering human settlements,” he said.
DDC programme coordinator Sagar Kumar Dhakal, however, said, “Once the DDC seals a contract, it can’t be cancelled just because a few people want it,” he said, adding, “A part of the income generated from river mining is being spent on development of affected areas.”
A version of this article appears in print on December 01, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.