DHANUSHA, Sept 17: The High Court of Janakpur issued an order for the relocation of Sankatmochan Crusher Industry of Ganeshman Charthan Municipality-8 within the next three months on February 20, 2020. Despite the order, the crusher plant is still operational at the same location.
The administration and the municipality have ignored the court’s order to relocate the crusher plant. On March 26 in 2019, the office of the cottage and small industries, Dhanusha, gave permission to operate the Sankatmochan crusher plant on the east side of the National Primary School by violating the rules. The crusher plant run by Nagendra Shah and Manju Kumari Shah is located near a school and a dense settlement. During the plant’s operating hours, the settlement and the school are covered in a fog of dust. Also, the loud noise of machines at the crusher plant is a big disturbance for the students.
Although the school sent a letter to the cottage and small industries office regarding the problems the students were facing because of the crusher plant, no action was taken. The settlement and the schools have been continuously requesting the office to stop the operation of the crusher plant in the area.
The office of cottage and small industries has turned a deaf ear to the cries of the local residents, claiming that the then chief of the office Sanjiv Diwedi had permitted the operation of the crusher plant in the area as it had fulfilled the legal criterias. Following the ignorance from the authorities concerned, Bhagat Mahato filed a writ petition at the Janakpur High Court against the office, Sankatmochan Crusher Industry and it’s operator Shah.
In February 2020, the High Court of Janakpur ordered the relocation of the crusher to another place within the next three months. The order was issued by a joint bench of judges Pusparaj Koiral and Ramesh Dhakal.
According to Mahato, it is clear from the court’s decision that the crusher plant is illegal. Accordingly, the cottage and small industry office sent a letter to the Sankatmochan Crusher Plant to relocate itself as ordered by the Janakpur High Court. The letter also warned of legal actions to be taken against the crusher plant if the order was not followed.
Meanwhile, on October 5, 2020, the District Administration Office of Dhanusa ordered the District Police Office to take necessary action as requested by Mahato. However, despite the order from the court and the office of cottage and small industries, the Sankatmochan Crusher Industry is still operational. “We environmentalists are powerless against the money and connections of the crusher plant,” Mahato said. “We have knocked on the doors of the chief district officer to the chief of municipality to implement the orders of the court,” he added.
Problems like these are not only in Dhanusa but in Siraha district as well. Crusher plants are found operating by violating the laws. The Kamalamai Crusher Industry in Karjanha Municipality-7 has been found to be operating by violating the rules as well near the banks of the Kamla River. The permit for its operation was given by the Office of Cottage and Small Industry.
Although the government has formed various policies for the excavation of sand, stones and pebbles, such policies have not been implemented properly. Earlier, the then President Ram Baran Yadav, had requested the government to stop the exploitation of natural resources, citing its effects on the environment.
The then forest minister Mahesh Acharya under the leadership of Prime Minister Susil Koirala had formed a Chure-Terai Conservation Development Committee. The committee introduced various policies to stop the illegal excavations of sand, stones and pebbles in the Chure area.
A law introduced by the committee allowed for the operation of crusher plants within a distance of 500 meters to 2km from the lowland areas of Chure, human settlements, rivers, national highways and electric transmission lines. However, crusher plants have been found to be operating on the banks of rivers in various parts of the country.