Bajura, February 9
Prolonged illegal mining of sand from rivers in Bajura has caused huge revenue losses to concerned authorities.
As per reports, two companies — Lama Construction and PS Construction — have been illegally mining sand and stones from local rivers.
“These companies were given the contract to construct the Sanfe-Martadi road section, and they have used the road project as an excuse to haphazardly mine sand and gravel from local rivers. They have even exported the products to other districts such as Accham and Doti,” a local Gorakh Bahadur Singh claimed.
The Local Self-governance Act stipulates a tax of two rupees per cubic feet of river products mined. “If the excavation had been done legally, the District Development Committee would have generated more than Rs 5 million in tax every year,” said DDC engineer Janga Bahadur Thapa, who also blamed the District Administration Office for the thriving illegal mining of river products.
“We have written to the DAO thrice requesting them to stop the illegal extraction of river products, but they have not responded to us. Without the administration’s help, we cannot stop this illegal activity on our own,” Thapa said, adding, “We’ve called a tender for mining four times, but no one has responded because they can simply get the products without paying any taxes.”
Prem Thapa of PS Construction admitted their involvement in ‘unauthorised’ mining of river products.
“We are not the only construction company that is doing this. We have not been explicitly told by any authority that we cannot continue excavating, and it does not make sense for us to be the only company that pays taxes when no other company does,” he said.
The construction company is also running a stone crusher plant in the district, apparently without seeking permission from any authorities.
Locals, on their part, have blamed the concerned VDC, DAO, and DDC offices for illegal mining of river products. They said rampant extraction of sand and stones from the rivers had posed a grave threat to human settlements in Brahmatola, Kuldevmandau, and Kailashmandau.
A version of this article appears in print on February 10, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.