A crusher plant operating without a license in Lalbakaya Khola near Nijgadh, Bara in this recent picture.
BARA, Sept 26: Dozens of crusher plants in the district are still in operation even after their licenses were scrapped for flouting regulations. The plants which, by rule, cannot operate near human settlements, temple, wildlife reserves, health post and schools, among other sensitive zones, have been running in the vicinity of such landmarks.
Though locals have raised voice against their presence several times, the authorities concerned have not taken any actions against such them.
“They cannot operate crusher plants close to our homes, temples, hospitals, schools. But if you go around here, you will find a number of crusher plants running without any hesitation,” said a local of Bara, requesting anonymity. He claimed that much of these illegal crusher plants are largely protected by government authorities.
Arbind Yadav, chief of the department of Cottage and Small Industries admits that the some crusher plants have not followed legal conditions. While they are supposed to be established at least two kilometers away from human settlements and other sensitive areas, crusher plants have been running haphazardly. He stated that license of plants found flaunting regulations has not been renewed.
“Licenses of crusher plants that were flaunting regulations have not been renewed since last three years. However, some of them are still operating,” he stated. He blamed the local administration, which is mandated to monitor and control such activities, for not shutting down such plants.
Nijgadh Municipality admits that the crusher industries have not been renewed for long. Nepal Crusher Industry owned by Pradeep Subedi, Lalbakaiya Crusher Industry owned by Krishna Neupane, Himal Crusher Industry owned by Shailendra Subedi, Gaulagain Crusher Industry owned by Uddhav Chaulagain and Baishnavi Crusher Industry owned by Surendra Prasad Jaiswal, among others crusher industries in the area, have been running without a license.
Meanwhile, owner of the Nepal Crusher Industry, Pradeep Subedi stated that the government’s decision forced the entrepreneurs like him to run business without renewed license. “It is not due to us, but due to the government. Since they stopped the renewal process, we are left without any choice other than to operate without license,” he said.
He further stated that the government is expected to identify new place to relocate their crusher plant very soon. “We have heard that the government is going to address our concerns very soon. Crusher plants which have not met operating regulations are expected to be relocated to another location, they say,” he said.
Even though the government had been strict towards crusher plants and mining of resources from rivers earlier considering the rapid degradation of environment, it had later turned a little flexible towards them post earthquake.
Crusher plants were allowed to run even if they did not follow all the regulations to aid in the reconstruction process by supplying the required raw materials. Despite offering much flexibility, the government had made it certain the crusher plants followed certain conditions.
“The industries have taken advantage of the flexibility offered by the government. It is an open secret that they are damaging the environment, and yet they are operating day and night,” said another local from Bara, who did not want to be named either. “It is the mafia which is involved in all this,” he added.
Officials at the Department of Cottage and Small Industries do not deny this charge. According to them, crusher industries do not fear the government as the latter has not been able to check their activities.
Mayor of Nijgadh Municipality Suresh Kumar Khanal stated that necessary measures are being taken to book erring industries. “We have to manage this sector. Laws and provisions are being renewed for this,” he said.
Khanal further said that crusher industries which are not complying with regulations will be shifted to new locations. “Crusher plants will be audited for regulation compliance. And if they are flaunting any of those regulations, they will be relocated to new locations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief District Officer of Bara, Farindra Mani Pokharel, stated that he will look into the matter. “This is a very serious matter. We will look into this. The wrongdoers must be booked,” he said. He added that development activities should not invite destruction.