PANCHTHAR, Feb 9On Thursday, an excavator was parked along the Tamor River in Majhitar for the extraction of construction materials. The excavator was digging deep into the river while a tipper and tractor were busy loading and unloading sand and stones. This site falls 500 meters within the suspension bridge.
The use of excavators and other machines has been banned in the Tamor River. By going against the Environment Impact Evaluation (EIA) report, local authorities and entrepreneurs have been rampantly excavating the river. Extraction has become a common sight in Panchthar and Terhathum of late.
Phidim Municipality of Panchthar and Aathrai Rural Municipality of Terhathum have awarded contracts to different crusher plants to extract the resources from the Tamor River that falls in their respective jurisdictions. Rajendra Prasad Dahal, chief administrative officer of Aathrai informed Republica that the local unit has been collecting royalty by deploying witnesses at the sites.
"We are in the process to award the contract. But we have no idea about the use of heavy machines for the extraction of resources," said Dahal, adding, "We will take stern action if we find anyone breaching the law." However, locals on the other hand lament that it has been a long time since various stakeholders have been negligently using large machines in the river area. This has not just polluted the river but has turned it into an eyesore.
A few days ago, the District Coordination Committee (DCC), Paanchthar, publicized a report prepared after a month-long investigation. The report showed that there has been rampant excavation in the Tamor River. Dilliram Dulal, coordinator of the investigation committee and the Vice-Chairperson of the DCC, stated that the authorities have breached the provisions and have used machines violently for the excavation.
According to the report, the negligence of crusher plants has compelled the river to change its course. Those involved in the investigation clearly warned that the continued negligence in the extraction of materials could seriously harm the river and its resources. Despite being warned by DCC and environment conservationists, contracting companies have not paid any heed.
Caption: An excavator being used for the extraction of construction materials from the Tamor River on last Thursday.