River mining rampant in Rautahat district

Rautahat, May 16

Extraction of river-borne materials has increased in Rautahat, of late. Many people are involved in extracting river products from the Lalbakaiya and Bagmati rivers of Rautahat taking advantage of the lockdown.

At a time when the entire country is busy fighting against COVID-19, random river mining in the district might invite another trouble for the district denizens. It is learnt that the district coordination committee has given permission to extract materials from the river and the local administration has issued passes to excavators to operate during the lockdown on the pretext of continuing development works in the district.

A social worker, Ajaya Sah at Chandrapur, said that it was unfortunate to continue river mining when the entire country was under lockdown. He said that dozens of tippers had been used in carrying river products extracted from the Lalbakaiya River.

Chandrapur Municipality Mayor Ram Chandra Chaudhary said the multi-party meeting held on Wednesday had decided to halt all development activities and implement the lockdown strictly. He added that the local administration could not control extraction of river-borne materials from the Lalbakaiya River.

Experts have warned that random river mining might trigger natural disasters such as flood during the monsoon.

Meanwhile, District Coordination Committee Chairman Ramekwal Yadav said permission was given to use machines to extract the river-borne materials to continue development activities for the current fiscal.

Chief District Officer Basudev Ghimire said that all vehicle passes would soon be scrapped and the district security committee would put a complete ban on river mining during the lockdown.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.