Settlements at risk due to random sand mining

Rautahat, February 3

Rampant extraction of sand and boulders in two major rivers has put human settlements at risk in Rautahat.

Different construction companies have been excavating sand and boulders after they were granted licence without conducting environmental impact assessment.

Locals complained that granting of licence by the District Coordination Committee and local administration without environmental impact assessment had put the settlements around the rivers at risk.

The companies licensed to extract sand and boulders from the rivers have erected huts on the banks of the rivers. Sand and boulders are being extracted from the Bagmati River in Chandrapur Municipality-1 and Samanpur and Bakaiya rivers in Gadhimai Municipality.

District Coordination Committee had permitted Sah Construction Service, Malangwa, to extract sand and boulders only from a designated area in the Bagmati River around a month ago. The company, however, has been excavating sand and boulders haphazardly.

Before the civic polls, local administration had imposed a ban on extraction of sand and boulders from the rivers. After local representatives were elected, excavators are being used with the backing of elected representatives. Earlier, use of excavators was banned in the Chure area.

District Coordination Committee had granted the permission for extraction of sand and boulders from the rivers.

It had permitted  Swochhanda Dhukche Ashray JV to extract 10,000 cubic metre sand and boulders from designated areas for construction of road and other infrastructure in Gaur Municipality.

DCC Coordinator Umesh Basnet, however, said that permission had been given to excavate sand and boulders piled up in some areas to change the course of the river.