Despite plaints, construction firm continues to ravage SGH river


BAGHMARA, April 21: The litany of complaints against two construction companies over destruction of two riverbeds of Rongdik and Rongreng seems to have had no effect on one of them, which continues to plunder the Rongdik River near Karukol-Emangre in South Garo Hills.
It may be mentioned that following the complaints against NSC and Nidhi Constructions, the latter, after being show-caused by the Forest department, had pulled the plug on the digging activities in the Rongreng riverbed. However, the company, as per reports, is now exploiting the Rongdik River.
Videos and images of the continued plunder have once again surfaced with local sources claiming that the illegal mining of sand and gravel from the riverbed has been ongoing for the last two years.
The above-mentioned companies had been contracted to create the Baghmara-Ranikor road and had been on the job for the last two years.
While the progress has been good as far as the road goes, the two companies have been put under the scanner after it was noticed that they were illegally excavating the riverbeds of two critical rivers – all within the buffer zone of the Balpakram National Park.
Upon being informed of the matter, Deputy Commissioner Shashank Awasthi issued an order for an inquiry by the DFO, PWD and the BDO of Rongara, all of who apparently visited the spots in question. However, the findings of the investigation team are yet to be revealed.
As per local sources, the latest site is on the banks of the Rongdik river near Karukol. The same river has also been used near Rongara by NSC to mine sand gravel.
“As a construction company working on a national highway, they are well aware of environmental norms and how they are supposed to be working within the ambit of the law. In Karukol, as they did in the two other sites, they have eschewed the law completely. Imagine they didn’t even seek the permission of the Nokma in Karukol. How does this make sense and why has no one questioned them on their illegal acts?,” asked a local resident over the phone.
What is interesting is the fact that Karukol is also the native village of Education Minister Rakkam Sangma.
However, when contacted on the matter, the Rongara-Siju MLA denied any knowledge of the illegal act being undertaken by the construction firm.
He, however, stated that the matter would be investigated by the Forest department as he would be forwarding the information to them.
Further, the DFO of SGH, Maxborn Sangma, said he was unaware of what was happening but assured that he would send a team to find out.
Appropriate action would be taken if the company was found violating norms, the DFO said, adding that they had inquired into the previous cases of alleged illegal sand mining and a report of the same was submitted to the DC on Friday.
He, however, did not reveal the findings.
Attempts were made to contact the NHIDCL or the two companies in question but to no avail.