TIKAPUR, March 22: Since the past two months dozens of tractor trailers have been transporting loads of stones and sand illegally extracted from the Karnali River toward Bardiya.
Smugglers have been illegally extracting stones and sands from the river near the bridge connecting Tikapur and Rajapur, but authorities concerned have been turning a blind eye to the unlawful act.
According to the locals, the extraction has threatened the embankment to the south-eastern part of the bridge.
One Sagar Thapa of Rajapur and his group have been extracting sand with excavators operating in the riverbed. Dirgha Thakulla, spokesperson of Tikapur Municipality informed that the municipality has time and again warned against such extractions, but this has had little effect.
Thakulla said illegal extractions have affected the embankment, which is still under construction.
The ravaging floods of 1984 had created a small island in the middle of the river and the locals call it Sri Lanka Tapu.
"The smugglers have caused damage to the embankment so the authorities should act immediately to stop the extractions," Suraj Saud, a local, said.
Some locals even accused the police of colluding with the smugglers. When they complained about the smuggling, DSP Tika Bahadur Karki of Area Police Office (APO), Tikapur reportedly said that he could do nothing to stop the extractions.