Illegal stone quarries mushroom once again

Tura, Mar 15: Illegal stone quarries, which were banned by the state for its failure to obtain operating papers, have mushroomed once again in the West Garo Hills district. The illegal stone quarries, which are generally run by Assam residents through channels in Garo Hills have once again come to the fore after complaints by legal quarry operators who objected to the illegal transport of chips – most of which goes to Bangladesh.

According to the complaint raised by the Stone Quarry and Crusher Unit Association, illegal quarries have been operating across the plain belt of West Garo Hills district, most of which goes to the town of Mankachar in Assam before ending up in Bangladesh. Approximately about 100 such quarries have begun operation after 5 companies were given permission by the state after clearances and NOCs.

“There are many of them transporting stone chips using the same Transit Permit (valid for 2 days) and make multiple trips in a day. Most of these don’t even have challans and there are no checks on the road while they transport. This needs to be looked into,” said a member of the association.

Stone quarries are interspersed between the villages of Garobadha up to Hallidayganj through Tangaon, Pipulbari.

“Mankachar does not have any stone quarry or crushers but they are continually exporting stones. This already proves the amount of illegality going in,” said the association.

The smugglers allegedly have been using small pick-up trucks to move the stones as bigger trucks require more time to load and chances of detection by the police and authorities are higher.

Questions were also raised on one PK company, which does not have a legal stone quarry but was the recipient of auctioned stones over a year ago. The same company however has continued to transport stone chips and boulders ever since.

“We want to know as to how much of auctioned stones do they have as it seems it is unending,” said another stone quarry owner.

The association has asked for a clampdown on the illegal transport of stones and have stated that they would file an official complaint on the matter with the DC, DMR and police soon.