Galkot, March 3
Unlawful exploitation of the Kaligandaki river has continued unabated for over the years.
The tendency of crusher entrepreneurs to exploit river materials has not let up although the Gandaki provincial government came up with a guideline to check the excavation and extraction of river-based products.
Even in the broad daylight, the extraction of river products has been undertaken unlawfully by using heavy equipment against the tenders. However, the local governments and concerned agencies have remained mute spectators.
Of late, the extraction of river products has been unobtrusively carried out under the longest bridge of Nepal that was constructed to connect the Baglung and Parbat districts.
The growing illegal extraction and exploitation have also caused the river to change its course.
On the other hand, the precious ammonite stones (shaligram) are also on the verge of disappearance with the unchecked exploitation of the river. The ammonite stone, which is available in the Kaligandaki river only, is one of the most precious things for Hindus.
The provincial government has banned the use of heavy equipment such as bulldozer, excavator and loader while excavating and extracting stones, pebbles, sand, soil and rock among others from the national forests, reserve areas and sensitive zones. Machine and equipment stated in the environmental impact assessment report and approved in the preliminary environment evaluation can only be used in the case of other areas.
There are growing complaints from the local citizens for apathy shown by stakeholders and concerned authorities of Baglung and Parbat districts even when the exploitation of the river has become rampant and sporadic. Local police, administration and other stakeholders have not shown serious attention to book the exploiters to legal action, the citizens’ leaders complain.