Manipulation to validate illegal crushers – Online Khabar

Manipulation to validate illegal crushers - Online Khabar

June 6, Kathmandu. The government has made the first amendment in the criteria related to stone, ballast, sand excavation, sale and management-2077 BS. This amendment made on 6 June 2079 seems to increase rather than stop the excavation of rivers and streams.

Revised criteria include river or river banks, paved bridges, ‘right of way’ of highways, historical lakes, ponds, reservoirs, densities, forests, parks, reserves, international borders, educational institutions, places of religious, historical, archeological importance and security agencies. The distance to be maintained with the office has been reduced.

The new standard has been amended to allow 500 meters of highways in the Terai region and 200 meters in the hills to run the crusher industry.

Earlier, it was not possible to run the crusher up to 2 km from the forest, but it has been reduced to 500 meters. The new standard has paved the way for the operation of crusher industry by leaving 300 meters from the highway, 200 kilometers from the river bank and 500 meters from the bridge.

According to the new standards, the industries that had to move to new places by 5 September 2078 remained stubborn. Crushers operating in defiance of government norms have gained legitimacy by modifying the norms rather than relocating.

The distance from the pole of the transmission line should be 100 meters and one kilometer from the international border. This arrangement has opened the way for the industrialists who have been refusing to move the crusher for the last seven years to operate the industry on the spot.

The new standard paves the way for the legalization of the more than 2,000 illegal crusher industries currently operating. According to Purushottam Regmi, general secretary of the Federation of Nepal Crusher and Mining Industries, most of the crusher industries have been operating illegally since 2073 BS. New crushers are also opening.

The government had decided to relocate the crusher industries by designating the mining area on 17 September 2071 and 2 January 2071. At that time, it was decided to run the industry by providing infrastructure including electricity, roads and water. However, it did not work out. Industries were not relocated as directed by the government till 072 BS.

The government stopped the renovation as the industries did not relocate as per the criteria. In protest, the crusher industrialists had stopped the supply of stone, ballast and sand all over the country from April 29 to June 25. A task force was formed under the coordination of the then Industry Secretary Krishna Gyawali to solve the problem, but the government did not show interest in implementing the report recommended to relocate the crusher industry in the areas identified by the government.

Instead, the transfer was extended by one year, but the company was not renewed. Since then, the government has been revising the criteria and extending the deadline for relocation.

After the assassination of Dilip Mahato of Dhanusha in January 2076, who was protesting against illegal excavations, the state government started closing down the illegally operated crushers. The central government also repealed the old standards on 5 July 2077 and brought new standards to prevent misuse and exploitation of natural resources, to prevent shortage of riverine construction materials, to prevent environmental destruction and to prevent crusher industry from running. The illegal crusher was closed.

A meeting of the then Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Energy Minister Barshaman Pun, Industry Minister Lekhraj Bhatt, Forest Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet and others had sent the letter to all 77 districts.

According to the new standards, the industries that had to move to new places by 5 September 2078 remained stubborn. Crushers operating in defiance of government norms have gained legitimacy by modifying the norms rather than relocating.

All one vote to increase exploitation

According to officials at the Ministry of Federal Affairs, crusher businessmen, smugglers, gangsters and party leaders and activists have been pushing for the amendment, saying that the relocation criteria could not be implemented. This time around, local people’s representatives have been added to the pressure to change the criteria, a ministry official said.

Crusher industries have been exploiting the river-river area for years. Investment in the crusher industry is on the rise as the government earns up to Rs 25,000 per trip after paying Rs 600 to Rs 1,000 in taxes.

The leaders and cadres of the party are involved in this business which does not follow the legal limits, can easily weaken the rule of law, has sufficient income, does not have to be transparent and gets protection easily. The leaders have entrusted the business to relatives and confidants as pseudo-investors in order to evade criticism of the natural condition of the river and the exploitation of the Wahab and to avoid the possible label of illegal crusher operator. However, there are also leaders who oppose illegal crushers.

The crusher industry will not be monitored by the local level, District Administration Office, District Coordinating Committee (DCC). However, the process of monitoring and closing down for a few days and then allowing it to run smoothly by paying a minimum fine has been going on for years.

Locals have been accusing Jesus, local level, administration and police offices of allowing crushers to run due to financial temptation. Crusher operators, on the other hand, have been saying that the same industry cannot be run by fulfilling the criteria as it is impractical. Purushottam Regmi, general secretary of the Federation of Crusher Industry Entrepreneurs, says that an environment must be created to run the industry in a legally organized and transparent manner.

Allowing crushers to operate illegally is not only tax evasion in stone, ballast and sand quarrying, crushing, transportation and distribution, it is also losing the revenue generated by contracting with the local government.

He said that the new standards of the government have not created an environment for the operation of the crusher industry. Stating that the crusher industry in the Terai still faces many problems in operation, Regmi claimed that the crushers in the hilly areas along the highways and rivers would not benefit from the new standards.

“If the government builds all the infrastructure for the industry through a one-stop system by providing mines identified by the Department of Mines, we are ready to produce and process stone, ballast and sand from the mines,” he said. ‘

He said that the government has given continuity to the process of not giving legitimacy and the laws brought for legitimacy are also impractical. Therefore, the government has been asked to formulate practical criteria, says Regmi.

Exemption for the illegal

The crusher manufacturers did not pay any fine even after operating illegally for a long time. No strict policy has been brought to make those who have been allowed to stay as they are by amending the criteria accountable. Crusher industries operating under the guise of political power are not obliged to be transparent and accountable.

Not only is the river being exploited because the business of crushers is not transparent, consumers have to pay high prices for the use of such products. The government has not received as much tax as it should. Excavation, processing, loading and transportation costs are not transparent. By keeping the crusher industry illegal, groups taking invisible profits are active in legalizing illegal mining and trading of stone, ballast and sand.

The prices of stone, ballast and sand have been increasing at an unnatural rate due to illegal trade. Ravi Singh, president of the Federation of Nepal Construction Entrepreneurs, says that the price of stone, ballast and sand has not been determined scientifically. “Prices need to be controlled by allowing the crusher industry to operate legally,” he says.

Allowing crushers to operate illegally is not only tax evasion in stone, ballast and sand quarrying, crushing, transportation and distribution, it is also losing the revenue generated by contracting with the local government. Crusher traders, on the other hand, claim that local governments are levying taxes equal to Rs 30 billion annually.

The Department of Mines and Geology estimates that there is an annual demand of about 23.7 million cubic meters of stone, ballast and sand in Nepal. Availability is only about 3.16 million tippers. Calculating its value at an average of 25,000, the annual turnover is 80 billion rupees. The revenue received by the government from this is low.

There is a problem of digging more than the Environmental Impact Study (IEE) permit and leaking revenue. Most localities do not account for more excavated stone, ballast, and sand than for preliminary environmental studies. The people’s representatives have been taking part of its benefits in collusion.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Federal Affairs Basanta Adhikari admits that stone, ballast, sand excavation, processing and business could not be organized. Homework is being done to make a separate act for this. Until then, the criteria have been revised to remove the distortions and solve the problem, ‘he says,’ it will help the stakeholders to stop the illegal activities. ‘