Stone crushers vitiate Sylhet environment

Our Correspondent | Published: June 08, 2019 20:31:08

A view of a stone crusher unit set in the Saheb Bazar area of Sylhet Sadar upazila — FE Photo

SYLHET, June 08: About a thousnd unauthorised stone crushers in Sylhet district are doing brisk business at the cost of environmental degradation and others through managing local influential people, including some officials of different departments.
Sources requesting anonymity said, these are located on the Jafflong tourist site and around, Companiganj and in Sylhet Sadar upazila. Most of these are on the roadside places for easy transportation.
Alongside the 300 set through initial permissions, these are also causing serious environmental hazards, officials admitted. Especially, sound pollution and dust cause much harm to the visitors and tourists from all over the country.
Often, just days after the drives by the lawmen and the administration officials, the organised groups reset their crusher units. On occasions, they even attacked the lawmen, sources said.
During a visit to the area last week this correspondent saw most of the crushers established on the lands, owned by the Forest Department and the Roads and Highways Department (RHD). Most of them are set on leveling hillocks and old trees even.
"They have already damaged part of the Dhaka-Sylhet-Tamabil Highway (N-2)," said the RHD officials alleging, "During a joint drive against the illegal crushers on highway-attached lands years ago, some organised people attacked the team."
An official at the RHD, Sylhet zone, said, "The matter was discussed at meetings in presence of senior officials. But it is hard to evict them permanently, he noted, the ultimate responsibility goes to the administration and law enforcers.
However, denying the allegation of negligence, a police official said, "Often we launch drives against the illegal crushers.
Bangladesh Environment Lawyers' Association (BELA), Sylhet Regional Coordinator Shaheda Akhtar said they are destroying the environment depleting the forests.
Centrally BELA had filed several cases on the officials and others. But nothing effective has been seen on the field so far. "We did survey on the illegal units", she added.
The green Jafflong and Bholaganj have been losing their past glory of forests, betel nut and plantation and others due to aggression of stone crushers since there is none to see, sources alleged.
Every day thousands of visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty of Jafflong, but illegal stone crushers are eating up everything there.
Stone crushers and coal dumping plots had been set up haphazard, said a number of locals like Sujon Sylhet district president Faruque Mahmub Chowdhury.

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