Road construction company behind illegal sand mining in Manda River


Tura, April 12: Fingers are being pointed at a construction company based in Guwahati, Midas Constructions, which has a lot of projects in the state of Meghalaya, being behind the illegal sand mining in the Manda River near WageAsi in North Garo Hills (NGH).

While investigation reports are still awaited, as per sources, the Guwahati based construction company that was tasked with creating a PMGSY road in the area has been illegally extracting sand and sand gravel for a while now.

Conveniently the company set up camp on the NH 62 near 7th Mile before unleashing its arsenal of excavators into the Manda River from where it began destroying the river bed in an apparent bid to save money.

As per forest officials no permission has been sought from any department by the company for extraction of sand or sand gravel from the sensitive river bed. It had, very conveniently, contacted the Nokma of the area, who feigned ignorance when hauled up by the forest department.

“When we spoke to the Nokma, he claimed that he was unaware that he was not allowed to provide permission for extraction from the river bed. However for the company itself, the matter becomes different altogether. As they are into government projects, they are well aware of the fact that clearances are required for such extraction,” informed a highly placed forest department official.

A visit to the camp showed a huge amount of extracted sand gravel lying within the premises of the makeshift camp. Further a visit to the site when the sand and sand gravel was being extracted showed huge mounds collected through the excavators.

However when the forest department officials paid a visit to the site, the excavators as well as dumpers which were carrying the illegal material had vanished from the spot. Despite their best efforts though, the huge mounds of collected sand gravel could not be removed.

“We have enumerated the mounds and have given ‘zimma’ of the materials to the Nokma itself. Our investigation into the matter is currently on and we will take up a case at a later time after the investigation is complete. We have warned them not to undergo such illegal acts in the future but legal action will also be taken,” informed DFO, North Garo Hills, Sathish KS.

A visit to the site of the excavation showed at least 2 places from where sand and sand gravel was illegally lifted by the construction company. At least 3-4 ponds, more than 3 meters deep and 10 meters wide have now formed on the river bed. At least 4 dumpers carrying the ‘On PWD duty’ logo were seen on the road bringing the illegal sand from the river bed to be carried onto the site of the road construction.

Incidentally this is not the first time that Midas Construction has been involved in trying to take such short cuts, with literally no regard for the laws or the environment. The company was earlier caught near Rongsak under East Garo Hills where they extracted stones from the Simsang River to crush in their camp, despite not having quarrying permission.