Quarrying in Nandhaur river begins, activists raise concern, cite sanctuary
The Forest Development Corporation (FDC) has opened quarrying on the banks of Nandhaur river in Nainital district.
“Quarrying has been started on the (banks of) Nandhaur river after taking the (necessary) clearances. There are no environmental issues as the clearances have been provided after assessing the impact on the environment,” said Rajpal Lehga, the deputy director, Mining (Kumaon).
The 10-year lease for quarrying on the banks of Nandhaur river in Nainital district had expired in 2016, after which the state government had been seeking necessary clearances from the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment.
The FDC has allowed the quarrying to 580 vehicles on a first-come-first-served basis. However, the local people are protesting the move saying that it would lead to chaos, as the vehicles would indulge in a race to reach the river.
“It has been decided that quarrying would only be conducted through the 5 gates and the number of vehicles would be restricted to 580, though the total number of registered vehicles is 2,900,” said Legha. He said that the quarrying activity would not hamper the movement of wild animals, as the river was located some distance away from the reserve.
However, there are concerns related to the environment, as the venue is close to the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary, which has around 21 tigers and other wildlife species.
Chandra Shekhar Kargeti, a social activist, regretted that all rivers are being opened for quarrying. “The government does not care for the environment in its quest for revenue and does not care if the wildlife or forests are tormented. I think, there should be more stringent laws on environment so that the forests and wild animals are not troubled due to quarrying related activities where large number of vehicles ply at high speeds,” he said.
However, Pan Singh Mewadi, a local resident of Chorgaliya, an entry point to the Nandhaur sanctuary, said that people were happy that quarrying had been opened, as it is a major source of livelihood.
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