Quarrying along Pindar river revives 2013 fears
In 2013, a swollen Pindar washed away more than 40 houses in Narain Bagardehradun Updated: Jun 30, 2016 22:19 IST
Illegal quarrying along the 105-kilometre long Pindar banks in Uttarakhand has made villagers nervous as they fear 2013-like floods if the district administration failed to take preventive steps soon.
The river originates from the Pindari Glacier in Bageshwar and flows through small towns and villages, like Devaal, Tharali, Kulsari, Harmani, Meeng, Narain Bagar, Nalgaon and Simli. It finally merges with the Alaknanda at Karanprayag.
However, the quarrying has left about a 200-metre river stretch in Chamoli’s Tharali and Narain Bagar blocks most vulnerable. The entire 105-kilometre river stretch is called Pindar valley.
In 2013, a swollen Pindar had washed away more than 40 houses in Narain Bagar alone, including a 135-year old house of one Bijendra Singh. The illegal quarrying can channel the river water into the hilly base of a number of villages and cause immeasurable damage in its wake, former Tharali block pramukh Sushil Rawat said.
Trilok Shah, a social worker of village Chepnue blamed the district administration for the illegal quarrying along the river banks.
Tharali block member Mamta Shah said that the quarrying had even rendered the safety wall built by the irrigation department at the cost of ` 2 crore near Chepnue vulnerable. She alleged that mining Mafiosi violently drive away even women whenever they object to the illegal and dangerous quarrying in the Pindar valley.
Mahila Mangal president Asha Devi and Chepnue ward member Diksha Devi alleged that the administration had not taken any steps despite several complaints in this regard.
One Bijendra Singh Rawat of Narain Bagar said that the mining Mafiosi were quarrying even in the unpermitted areas. Citing an example, he said the district administration has permitted mining at Palsuni near Narainbagar. However, quarrying is on even in Panti Gramsabha, which lies on the other side of the river. “I have reported the matter with the district administration many times. But, no action has been taken so far,” Rawat said.
Tharali sub-divisional magistrate Yogendra Singh admitted that he had received many such complaints. However, nobody has been caught red-handed as yet despite evidence of mining in the reported areas. He said a joint team of revenue, police and forest departments would conduct raids after June 30 when all the mining permits expire.