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Sand, boulders smuggled out of Lukha river

Shillong, Nov. 25: Lukha river in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time, it is about illegal lifting of boulders and sand from the river.

Every autumn since 2007, the Lukha makes headlines, as its water turns “blue” and several fishes perish for reasons unknown.

Last week, members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Narpuh circle, along with environment activist H.H. Mohrmen and others visited the Lukha between Kuliang and Borsara and found that people were illegally collecting boulders to sell to local contractors. The boulders were being supplied to Assam as well.

Those who were involved in the “business” did not obtain prior sanction from either the state forest department or the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council.

According to Puson Kympad, assistant secretary of Kuliang Dorbar Shnong, illegal collection of boulders has “adversely” affected Lukha.

“It is now shallow throughout its length and breadth and there is hardly any place for aquatic life to live,” Kympad said.

KSU Narpuh circle general secretary Kwilnis Suchiang said the students’ union had lodged a complaint against this illegal activity in the office of the East Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner, but the adminis- tration is yet to act on the complaint.

The union would again meet the concerned authorities to put a stop to the illegal activity.

According to Mohrmen, it is mandatory on part of the district administration to act because the National Green Tribunal had recently banned sand and stone mining from the rivers.

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