Rivers in P/Pare facing threat from illegal mining activities

[Bengia Ajum]

DOIMUKH, 12 Jan: Many of the rivers in Papum Pare district are facing a threat from the ever increasing illegal mining activities.

Rampant sand and stone mining, along with establishment of illegal stone crushers in areas like Kimin, Sangdupota, Sagalee and the capital region, have become a big threat to the environment.

Raising concern over the growing number of stone crushers operating illegally in places like Sopo village here, former president of the All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, Nabam Tado has lodged a complaint with the deputy commissioner.

In his letter, Tado alleged that stone crushers are being operated illegally in Sopo village, Doimukh, without licence.

“Unchecked use of huge numbers of crawler excavators, wheeled excavators and dump trucks for extracting minor minerals from the riverbeds of Sopo and Rose villages are going on. This uncontrolled illegal quarrying from the riverbeds has not only endangered the age-old fish species but put the fish species once found in the Pare river on the verge of extinction,” Tado wrote.

The activities also create noise and dust pollution in the village settlement areas, making the environment unhealthy to live in.

“Many landowners whose agricultural lands are located adjacent to the river banks of Sopo and Rose villages have seen their lands washed away every year in different locations during the monsoon season. Illegal mining of river sand and quartzite deplete the natural bed of the rivers and it causes soil erosion and reduces the water retention capacity of the water body, increasing the speed and scale of water flow,” he added.

He also alleged that too many mining licenses have been issued in Papum Pare district, and sought a check on it. “We have seen what is happening in Josimath in Uttarakhand. Rampant destruction of the environment in the name of development can cause lasting damage. The government should check the illegal mining activities in the rivers,” said Tado.

He also sought punishment for people operating illegal stone crushers, as per the Arunachal Pradesh Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2020, the Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2020, the NGT’s directives, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and other environmental laws.

Meanwhile, the Doimukh SDO has directed the officer in charge of the Doimukh police station to check the validity of the licenses held by those operating crusher units/quarries within the Doimukh subdivision jurisdiction, including Gumto circle. He directed that, “if it is found that they are engaged in illegal quarrying/mining, the vehicles and their inventories are to be seized.”

The police have been asked to submit the report of the ground inspection of mining activities in Doimukh subdivision within one week to the SDO.

“Further, OC, PS Doimukh is also directed to check inner line permit of all the labourers engaged in establishment of crusher plants and quarry activities along the river bank of Dikrong and, if found, the defaulters are to be booked under relevant section of law or provisions under the violation of the Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, 1873,” the order read.