10 January, Pokhara. In Tanhun’s Kotre area, where there are many crusher industries, the industry’s clout was so strong that some people were afraid to ask questions or even take pictures.
Party leaders and businessmen disguised as leaders of former government secretaries have invested in crushers here. The strength of the crusher industry is so strong that 2 years ago, in an attempt to curb the illegal crusher industry, the Chief District Officer was transferred.
According to Shantiravan Wagle, President of District Coordination Committee Tanahun, all these are illegal. Most of them have made quilts on government land. Most of them haven’t even registered and haven’t paid revenue to the state.
The government standard is that crusher industries should be at a distance of 500 meters from rivers, settlements and highways. But some are in the middle of Kolhu township, some are connected by road and some are exploiting Seti river only. In Gandaki province, more than 100 crusher industries are running without registration, only 49 are registered.
The crusher industry is infamous for exploiting the black soil of the mountain like Kotre in Tanahun. The crusher industry has been caught while mining black sand. However, no action is taken, the same exploitation scene is repeated again,’ said RK Adipta Giri, Conservation Engineer, Kaligand.
Now, on the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, all the major district officers across the country have closed all the crusher industries. On 21st, the district administration offices have locked all crusher industries and said that they will allow operations only after identifying illegal and legal industries.
According to the stone, gravel, sand mining, sales and management rules issued by the government on July 5, 2077, crusher industries cannot be opened within 2 km of dense settlements and forest areas.
Excavation and collection of river material is prohibited above 500 meters of rivers, roads, bridges and suspension bridges, within 500 meters of a highway. That’s why most of the crusher industries running in the country are illegal.
At that time, the businessmen themselves had protested that the government had put a lock on the industries which were operating according to the standards. Gandaki Crusher Industry Association has said that the government has protected Dangiri in the crusher industry.
We have been saying that the crusher industry should be regulated, operated and shown suitable places. As soon as the crusher industry is called, it means keeping the dress, adjusting the setting from employees to the leaders of political parties’, President Surendra Tripathi said, ‘This is because of the state. It is the state that protects Dangiri. Those who do not set standards of behavior and take financial benefits from businessmen ranging from employees to leaders of political parties. All these can be from unregistered industries.
Chhatradhar Atreya, secretary of the Gandaki Crusher Industry Association, says that the state has locked all the businessmen in a box and locked the private property. “We have no problem even in shutting down industries for months. But, at least the state should provide a solution’, Atreya said, ‘there are local laws and standards, we keep hearing vested interests ranging from employees to politicians flouting those laws and standards to reap financial benefits ‘
He says that the administration has locked some places in Gandaki in a guerilla style. Surendra said that while supporting the steps taken by the state for regulation, it is ready to shut down for some time, but even after that the state should provide an environment to operate in a dignified manner.
As soon as they say they are businessmen, they are dons, gangsters, illegals, and because of the state the picture becomes complete. This picture will be removed only when the state does not protect such businessmen and makes business dignified. We are giving revenue to the state.
He said that according to the standards of the present government no industry can be legal in the country and the way should be shown by revising the standards in time.
President Tripathi said, “Ignoring the problem of blaming us, a discriminatory policy is being adopted to allow any project or industry to run on the pretext of not allowing anyone to run.”
Tripathi alleges that the government, which imposes standards on the private sector, is currently digging the river through machines in the name of the project. ‘Mining is still being done using machines from the Seti river for the purpose of widening the Prithvi Highway’, he said. ‘Can the state violate the law made by it?’
He says that the state has made the crusher business fake.
Tangraj Baral, president of the Federation of Construction Professionals Gandki, said that since the state is unable to come up with strict standards, all the professionals are bogus.
He said that currently the crusher industry is at a standstill and development projects will be pushed back by 3 years. If this continues, the state will suffer huge economic loss. Projects are not completed on time’, he said.
Liladhar Purjuli, the central vice-president of Nepal Crusher and Mining Industry Federation, said that due to the weakness of the state, illegal industries are running in the country instead of legal ones. 680 industries have been registered across the country. All others are illegal’, Parajuli said, ‘This time let the state clarify, regulate but show the way to run the legal industry.’
Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gandaki President Sanjeev Bahadur Koirala said that now the Home Minister himself has become a don. Koirala said, ‘Will the Home Minister himself cut the letter to stop the crusher industry or is there a Ministry of Industry in the country?’
He alleges that when the standards of crusher industry and dhungati sand are made, they are made in such a way that the leaders and workers continue to exploit them throughout their lives. The crusher businessmen of Gandaki have requested the government to show the place for running the industry by making amendments according to the current standards.