Editorial

Yellow gold

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/3/2019 11:00:22 AM IST

Due to huge demand for sand, the price has seen rising steadily over the years and has reached its zenith but still there are buyers who grudgingly play the exorbitant rates. Coarse sand from Deopani river under Karbi Anglong is in huge demand and increasing by the month. Construction works in Nagaland and Manipur are totally dependent upon sand from Karbi Anglong. Sand mining from various rivers under Karbi Anglong is a business that transacts over a few hundred crore rupees every year. In a recent report, the mismanagement of the forest royalty in Karbi Anglong made news as it also revealed how the environment was being systematically destroyed by greedy sand miners. According to the report, River beds and agricultural land with sand deposits have been scrapped and stripped bare by openly flouting all rules and regulations of sand mining. Most of the sand mining in Karbi Anglong was alleged to be illegal as the trade has become a free-for-all. How Karbis have taken to sand mining like a mania is reminiscent of the 70s to 80s in Nagaland when log contract or logging became an activity for every Tom, Dick or Harry. River beds in Karbi Anglong are being destroyed due to unscientific mining carried on by the illegal miners who are using suction machines to pump out sand. According to the report, revenue from illegal sand mining by sand mafia was not only causing a huge damage to the river beds but the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAA C) is losing huge revenue. This is only possible due to the connivance of the forest department in the district. On the other side, what is also a matter that needs immediate attention of the authorities in Nagaland is the overpricing of sand in Nagaland. A few years back, it was widely reported in the media that the overpricing is sometimes more than 500% of the cost at source after reaching Dimapur. A truck carrying sand from Karbi Anglong to Dimapur has to cough out cash at various gates manned by Assam Police at Koilamati, Khatkhati, Bokajan and Santipur. As the truck nears Nagaland, there are other unauthorised check gates manned by various groups and at the Nagaland check gate, money has to be paid to various other groups including the police. Sand from several sources in Karbi Anglong –Patradisa, Lungit, Deopani, Kanaighat etc have different textures and priced differently. The most coarse, Kanaightat, is used mainly for foundation and structure and though priced at around Rs.10,000 or Rs.12,000 at source, is sold at Rs.32,000 in Dimapur. That is why even though a truck or 400 cft of sand prices between Rs.10,000 to Rs.12,000 in Karbi Anglong is finally sold at Rs.23,000 to Rs.24,000 in Dimapur. In contrast, 400 cft of coarse sand which costs Rs.23,000 in Dimapur is sold at around Rs.10,000 to Rs.12,000 in Guwahati. Construction costs are high in Nagaland owing to escalating prices of cement and bricks along with sand. In all the construction items, the cost of all the items are sky high and the hands of syndicates is all too evident. Authorities in Nagaland have to intervene not merely to check the abnormal rates but to prevent self-styled authorities from pushing up the prices further.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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