One sand lifting machine seized
Agartala, November 06, 2019: Illegal sand mining has become a major environmental concern in Tripura. With rampant sand mining rivers and its aquatic systems are facing serious threats. While, sand mining activities are being carried on almost every river of the State – Juri River in North Tripura is depicting obvious signs of vulnerable river banks and river beds.
Panisagar administration along with Forest department seized one machine used for illegal sand mining from Juri river in the North Tripura district today. Intriguing it may sound, even as the authority seized the sand mining machine, they did not detain or arrest its owner Islam Uddin – local people complained to concerned authorities several times in the past in vain. He along with few other persons are involved in sand lifting activities in Rivers which are in precarious state.
Local sources alleged, Islam was extracting sand illegally from the Juri River for years throwing banks in vulnerable condition – already a land of one Biswajit Nath residing on the bank of the river caved in the river reportedly due to illegal sand extraction. In several other locations, decaying condition due to sand extraction was observed.
Moreover, due to rampant sand mining, aquatic ecosystems of the River were also affected. Notwithstanding all these environmental hazards, administration as well as the Forest department played a passive role and failed to stop the illegal activities.
“All of us are well aware of the catastrophic impact of rampant sand mining on the health of the river and surroundings. In fact, people are witnessing ill effects of sand mining. But for reasons best known to the local administration and Forest department, no action was taken against the offenders, like Islam for several years”, commented a veteran of Jalebasha (in North Tripura district under Panisagar sub-division) and added that several other sand ‘mafias’ are active in the area.
Concerned at environmental threat’ local people alleged nexus between sand mafias and Forest Department. “Juri River may well be termed as a lifeline for many people living along its downstream. However, due to mindless exploitation of the river – not only the aquatic systems, but also the livelihood of hundreds of people is in danger”, a local farmer commented and stressed on need to rejuvenate the river for maintaining bio-diversity and aquatic systems.