Pokhara in peril due to sand mining

Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, April 8:

Locals fear that floods may wreak havoc in Pokhara if the present practice of excessive sand mining from the Seti River continues.

The local development officer, Narayan Raj Timilsina, said that the District Development Committee was coerced into giving permission for sand mining due to pressure from some families who eke out a living by sand mining. Most of the sand miners are women, who sell sand to local contractors at dirt cheap prices.

According to the LDO, the DDC does not accrue any benefit from sand mining. Contractors pay only 50 paisa per sack of sand. "Though around Rs 50,000 is collected every year, we have to pay 50 per cent to the municipality."

"Sand mining has put the future of Pokhara at stake," locals say in unison. According to them, vested interests of some contractors, sand miners and irresponsible behaviour of the DDC have brought the Pokhara to such a sorry pass.

Says Kalyan Panta, a geologist, "Haphazard sand mining is a crime." Such activities cause landslide and the aquatic beings, too, are affected.