Sand miners, transporters demand govt to provide quarry areasIMPHAL | Jul 15
Following the ban imposed by High Court of Manipur on unauthorised sand mining, quarrying in all the rivers and transportation of the same, workers and labourers, who used to derive their means of livelihood through sand mining and transportation today demanded the government to provide notified quarry areas.
Aggrieved sand miners and transporters across the state today convened a joint meeting at Leishang Hiden, Canchipur against the non-availability of legal quarry and an association, namely All Manipur Excavators, Local Trucks, Tipper Owners and Workers’ Association was formed to address their grievances.
The joint meeting adopted three resolutions including the demand to the government to provide at the earliest notified quarry areas, where sand mining and quarrying works can be carried out legally. Moreover, forest department should not give any hindrances in excavating works carried out in land owned by individual themselves, it resolved while urging the government to put a ban on import on sand from other states outside Manipur as well until the above two demands are translated into action.
Later, after the meeting a five-member delegate of the association submitted memorandum to the chief minister Nongthombam Biren drawing his attention to their demands.
Speaking to media persons, president of All Manipur Excavators, Local Trucks, Tipper Owners and Workers’ Association, Kangujam Rajen said that villagers of Yairipok, Serou, Sekmai, Keithelmanbi, Heirok, etc. are deprived of their means of livelihood by the High Court order.
While urging the government to provide alternative arrangement for livelihood means if they fail to provide quarry areas, he warned that the association will launch various form of intense agitations if the government failed to pay heed to their demands.
Meanwhile, speaking at the meeting, Y. Purnimashi of Yairipok Leirongthel, who earns a living by sand mining in the Thoubal River, expressed discontentment that they were wrongly charged of polluting the rivers.
The root cause is in construction of dams, she pointed out and added that it has interrupted natural flow of river and hence the lack of sand, which used to be easily available in the downstream. As such, the sand miners are compelled to use excavators and other machines to dig the sand out from the riverbed, she said.
Other speakers during the meeting expressed similar resentment that they have been deprived of their only lifeline in the midst of all the skyrocketing price of rice.
Decrying the High Court order as one sided; they charged that there was no impact assessment and that the lives of the sand miners were not taken into consideration. “No statements from our side were taken before announcing the order. Besides, the ban order was sudden and apathetic towards the daily bread earners,” they contended.
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