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Activists intercept nine trucks transporting river sand, stones

Activists of Thoubal River Conservation Committee on Saturday morning intercepted nine trucks transporting sand and stones scooped from the riverbed in Thoubal district of Manipur and forced the drivers to dump the same on the premises of a youth club.

The activists have been urging passengers to halt and see how polluted the river water has become. They said the nine trucks were transporting sand and stones ignoring the campaign to save the dying river.

S. Binoy, an activist, said the Thoubal river meanders through several Assembly segments in Manipur. The sand mafia is so powerful that even elected representatives and government officials are not able to take any action against them. “In the past people used to scoop sand and pebbles using spades and baskets. However, a few years ago, they started using heavy machinery. Some people also are bringing muddy sand from nearby areas to wash in the river,” said Mr. Binoy.

Polluted water

People of Thoubal have been urging the BJP-led State government to ban the scooping of sand and stones from the riverbed. A resident, Biren Akoijam, said: “For generations people have been dependent on the Thoubal river for drinking and domestic requirements. But now the river water has become polluted and muddy and people can no longer use it.”

The government has assured several times that the illegal scooping of sand from the river will be stopped but no concrete steps have been taken so far.

Prices of sand and pebbles in Manipur have soared on the pretext that the same cannot be scooped from the Thoubal river. Questioning the silence of the government over the issue, the activists said that they will launch an agitation if the sand scooping is not stopped immediately.

Recently, one policeman was suspended when he was caught on camera extorting money from some drivers transporting sand.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 5:30:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/activists-intercept-nine-trucks-transporting-river-sand-stones/article25861672.ece

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