More access sought for quarrying in Nandhaur in Uttarakhand
Pressure is mounting on Uttarakhand district administration to widen access and open more gates for quarrying in Nandhaur river
Pressure is mounting on Uttarakhand district administration to widen access and open more gates for quarrying in Nandhaur river, located in the ecologically diverse Chorgaliya region, even as an official permission granted this year restricts quarrying to an area of 1.5 km.
Quarrying is one of the major revenue raking activities of Uttarakhand with the state earning close to Rs 800 crore in terms of revenue per year. Quarrying in Nandhaur river was renewed in 2018, for another ten years, after a previous lease expired in 2016.
However, people engaged in the business now wants to widen the scope of quarrying in the river by opening three more gates when quarrying resumes on October 1 after a monsoon moratorium, said Parag Madhukar Dhakate, conservator, western division. Only three gates are opened right now.
The matter would be discussed by the district quarrying committee in its next meeting, said Dhakate.
He also added that the matter was placed before the forest department headquartered in Dehradun. The Nandhaur Wildlife reserve spread across an area of 569 kilometers adjoins the river.
The state suspends quarrying in rivers during monsoon as it is dangerous to retrive sand and other debris used for construction during rains.
Paan Singh Mewadi, a local resident, defends opening of more gates, claiming that the river is depositing excess debris, which has to be cleared to avoid flooding. However, Deep Chandra Thuwal, a local trader who is also involved in the quarrying business dismisses such concerns as financially motivated.
“People want more gates to be opened so that they can load more materials and earn more profits,” said Thuwal. “Opening more gates would bring in more vehicles and chaos. Already 200 vehicles are plying in such a small area”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has started the process of e-tendering 10 of its quarrying lots in Haridwar, four in US Nagar and six in Pauri district. Quarrying is an important business in the rivers of Kumaon.
The debris and sand collected from the rivers are transported in dumpers and sold in the construction market.
The Gola river of Haldwani alone sees quarrying to the tune of Rs 200 crores while the Nandhaur river witnesses quarrying worth Rs 50 crores.
“We earn around Rs 800 crores from quarrying on various rivers in the state”, said Suresh Lawrence Patrick, additional director mining.
Some of the main rivers where quarrying takes place are Gola in Haldwani, Dabka, Sharda, Nandhaur Kailash and the Kosi.
First Published: Sep 25, 2018 05:51:01