SINDHULI, Feb 1: Despite numerous complaints by locals against the ongoing rampant mining of sand and stones from the Sunkoshi River in the district, the authorities have taken no action.
Extraction of sand and stones is rampant in the section of the river between Golanjor and Sunkoshi rural municipalities especially since the past two years. According to the locals, the local governments have been issuing mining licenses to anyone and everyone in the hope of earning royalties. But there is no one to monitor if the firms involved in excavation are following environment-related rules.
Although the law bars use of large machinery in the river for excavation, all crusher plants operating here have been using large machinery on the river banks.
Interestingly, most of these crusher plants are owned by the relatives and friends of the local politicians, so they are operating with impunity.
The once scenic river has now turned into an eyesore with deep holes and heaps of sands and stones everywhere. Also, the riverbed has subsided several feet. "Although these illegal activities have been going on, we are powerless to do anything about the problem," said a local requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, Nepali Congress (NC) leader Deepak Mishra expressed his disappointment toward the representatives for turning a blind eye to the destruction of nature.
"It is not right for the local authorities to permit rampant excavations to increase their revenue," said Mishra, adding, "It is sad, but these unsustainable excavations will soon impact everything in the district including the BP Highway."
Meanwhile, Chief District Officer Gyan Prasad Adhikari said the local government is the proper authority to check illegal excavations. "There is an investigation committee under the chairmanship of the chief of the District Coordination Committee (DCC) which is responsible for investigating any violations of the law. Besides, if the local government wants, it can stop illegal mining anytime," said Adhikari.