Sand traders ravage Bogra farmlands | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 15, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 15, 2009

Sand traders ravage Bogra farmlands

Sand lifters' unabated extraction of sand from riverbeds and below the surface of prime agricultural land is wreaking havoc on the environment and farmlands in Bogra.
Unscrupulous sand traders using their political influence set up shallow tube wells with special suction devices on farmlands and at various points of the Korotoa river to extract sand from below the surface, locals said.
At least seven hectares of cultivable land at Manikchalk in Bogra Sadar subsided due to continuous underground sand lifting. Villager Shahid Ullah told The Daily Star that earlier the fertile land was used for growing maize, green chillies, paddy, wheat and other crops but now the land has become unproductive.
Talking to The Daily Star, director of the Department of Environment, Rajshahi Division, Nazmul Haque said an official letter was sent to Bogra deputy commissioner over two months ago urging him to abide by The Mine and Minerals Rules, 1968 while leasing out government land for sand, stone and other mineral extraction. But no action has been taken against the unauthorised sand lifters as yet, he said.
Bogra Deputy Commissioner Iftekharul Islam Khan refused to talk about the matter with The Daily Star. However, his private assistant said the DC would look into the matter soon.
"According to rules there is no scope to extract any minerals from underground without the permission of the Department of Environment even if the land is privately owned," said Nazmul Haque.
Sand lifters are extracting sand with shallow tube wells in different villages of Sadar, Shahajanpur, Kahalu, Dupchachia, Dhunot, Gabtoli and Shibganj upazilas of Bogra. Some houses are vulnerable to land subsidence due to excessive sand lifting at Mongespur under Sadar upazila, locals claimed.
Officials at the Department of Environment apprehend that a large area may subside soon if the lifting of sand from underneath goes on.

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