Tura, Feb 11: As if the destruction of other natural resources was not enough, some miscreants in North Garo Hills have no gone ahead and devastated an entire river bed while lifting sand gravel from its bed.
The incident came to light through some casual conversations that took place between some locals of Upper Rongbu under Kharkutta in North Garo Hills (NGH) after which a visit was paid to the site to see firsthand what was happening.
According to locals, one of the land owners from the village who had land close to the river bed had sold off his land to one businessman, Harlding Marak, from Kharkutta who immediately through the use of heavy machinery began to mine sand gravel from the river bed leading to the widening of the river.
The small stream which earlier flowed through one route now has a huge pond like structure to fill before continuing on its journey downstream.
“They used JCBs to mine the place which has left a huge hole in the ground by the river where water is now flowing into. Consequently water in the lower levels has already gone down and we fear the stream will dry up in the coming months causing us tremendous problems,” said one of the locals who had raised objections.
The mining of sand gravel from the river has gone on for more than 3 months now and the disastrous consequences are there for all to see.
“The mining has been done without any form of environmental clearance or permissions from any authorities. How can they even think of destroying catchment areas this way and that too from a place where flash floods just recently almost devoured everything? There is no excuse for what is happening,” stated another.
Earlier the villagers had raised an objection to the mining of the material to which the earlier owner gave an excuse that the land had allegedly been sold to the businessman, Marak and he could do as he felt with it.
Upon seeing the destruction firsthand the matter was informed to the deputy commissioner of NGH who stated that action would follow immediately.
“This is dangerous and we will look into what happened,” he added.
For now the mining from the devastated site has currently been stopped though villagers informed that it could restart any moment.