Illegal sand extracting from tea gardens unabated in Habiganj

15 September 2014

S.A.Shofiee, Sylhet :
Despite a ban imposed on sand lifting from the tea gardens, a section of unscrupulous people are unlawfully extracting sand and cutting hill trees in an unplanned manner in the district. As a result, two bridges and a culvert collapsed and thousands of tea saplings are going down the earth, endangering the environment immensely. Experts fear landslides and other disasters might occur following the unbridled sand lifting here.
Sand traders have been lifting sand for a long time, disregarding the effect of their actions on the environment. The authorities of the district, meanwhile, have been blind to their actions, they added. So far, the authorities concerned have leased out vast areas of Chandichara, Chandpur and Ramganga villages under Chunaru Ghat upazila for sand lifting.
According Sand Quarry and Soil Management Act, 2012, sand mining is totally prohibited from inside the tea garden comprising    one kilometre area nearby highway and road.
But the local authorities have already sent a letter to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources with a recommendation to lease out the area for sand mining.
According to sources, of 31 sand depots in the district, there are 23 depots for general sand and the rest eight for silica sand.
To save environment and tea gardens, the government halted the lease for sand mining from the sand depots at Jigodishpur, Teliapara, Chandichara, Sathchari, Amtoli, Lawyachra, Khamaichara areas inside the forest department and tea gardens. But some local influential keep on sand extracting from tea gardens defying the order.
While visiting the areas, this correspondent found thousands of tea saplings are going down the earth as the sand quarry from these depots area going on unabated by putting the tea industry in jeopardy.
Tofajjal Sohel, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) said, tea garden sand is agricultural sand which gives us a great amount of economy help in Bangladesh. But some people are using this sand for buildings, multi-storeyed buildings for mitigating the housing demand. Developer developing their business but they are destroying Bangladesh economy. This can create a great disaster in Bangladesh economy tea export business.
People have to think about it that the land which will give us gold in future that we are destroying in present. Further there will not be any tea garden if this is going on and on, he added.

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