RUKUM, March 31: A crusher industry is reportedly operating illegally for over two years on the banks of the Sanibheri river, in Sanibheri Rural Municipality, Rukum (west). The industry has been accused of tax evasion. It is run by a construction company which is operating without registration.
The residents accuse the local government of not doing enough to take legal action regarding the issue.
Nara Bahadur Pun, chairperson of the rural municipality, blames the industry of ignoring the notices sent by the office.
“We sent a letter to the industry's authorities asking for the legal documents regarding the industry's establishment,” said Pun. According to the rural municipality, the industry replied that it did not require registration because “they work for the nation's pride and prestige”.
Experts have warned of extreme environmental degradation due to the uncontrolled usage of dozers to excavate resources from the river.
The crusher industry was established by a construction company responsible for road construction of the ¬hills highway. The company is accused of disregarding all warnings and establishing the industry illegally and evading millions of rupees in taxes.
Chairperson Pun is now determined to go ahead with the matter in accordance with the local self governance act. Pun also stated that he would use the local police force to shut down the industry if necessary.
“We weren't able to say anything because they were here to construct the road, but now I'm determined to make these companies pay the taxes they've been avoiding,” said Pun. The rural municipality plans to hand permit to the crusher industry only after evaluation of the potential environmental degradation the industry poses.
The locals are however angered by the local governments silence for over two years. Ram Bahadur Khadka, a resident of Sanibheri, demanded that the illegal industry be shut immediately. The locals also suspect of personal connection between the government authorities and the industry owners because of the prolonged silence for more than two years.
Chief District Officer (CDO) Shambhu Prasad Regmi said that uncontrolled excavation from the rivers without getting permission as illegal activity. He also stated that he is willing to take action in accordance to the law, if the said industry doesn't initiate the legal procedure for registration immediately.