RAUTAHAT: Despite efforts to conserve the Chure region, smuggling of river products from the region has been unabated in Rautahat.
Earlier, the illegal haul of river products from the Chure range had stopped after a team from the district administration office led by Chief District Officer Madan Bhujel visited the rivers and issued a prohibitory directive about six months ago.
After a lull of six months, exploitation of rivers has begun again
The order showed immediate results, but the illegal activity has resumed. Everyday, hundreds of tractors laden with river products such as gravel and stones can be seen from the Chure region.
“The ruling had done wonders for a few days, but nowadays smuggling is thriving,” Ramlal Das, a local social worker said, adding, “They extract river items from rivulets like Hardia, Dangdunge and Dhansar, collect them at Chandranigahapur and export to different places.”
While Depak Tiwari, a local accused employees of the district forest office of working in cahoots with smugglers, Construction Entrepreneurs’ Association Rautahat chairperson Nagendra Prasad Sah, on his part, censured the authorities concerned for failure to crack the whip.
“On the one hand construction of embankments in Lal Bakaiya and Bagmati rivers has stalled as they refuse to heed our appeals to ease restrictions a little bit to help out with construction, while on the other, they are turning a blind eye to the smuggling that’s going on. What is this?” asked Sah.
On his part, District Forest Office Chief Bhagawan Prasad Gupta said his office is doing its best to check the illegal extraction of forest materials from the Chure range. He called for cooperation from all walks of life to implement the ban strictly.
Exploitation of the Chure range has already taken a huge toll on the environment and water sources and it is feared that it will deteriorate the environment further and lead to devastating impacts on human life.
A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.