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Nepal locals protest against Chinese crusher plant

2023 Oct 10, 20:08, Kathmandu Nepal
Flag of Nepal (Image : ANI)

The locals of Nepal's Tinau Rural Municipality have been protesting against a Chinese crusher plant set up around a month ago near the Tinau River in Ward 3. The locals allege the plant has been operating by flouting the safety standards set by the government, The Kathmandu Post reported.

According to the chairman of the Tinau Rural Municipality Prem Shrestha, the crusher plant was set up by China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the contractor of the Siddhababa Tunnel Project.

The locals of Dobhan village, the site of the crusher plant, have been protesting, claiming that it harms the environment. Shrestha claimed that the plant's operators did not conduct the mandatory Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before bringing the plant into operation.

Shrestha said the crusher plant has been set up within a 50-metre radius of the Tinau River, a local forest, a suspension bridge, and a concrete bridge. It is also within 100 metres of the Siddhartha Highway.

According to the federal and provincial government rules, crusher plants cannot be operated within 500 metres of bridges and highways.

"After the locals launched a petition against the plant demanding that it should be shut down immediately, we asked the company to submit the IEE or EIA reports, but they did not have any. We then asked them to provide us with approval documents from related government agencies but they did not have those either," said Shrestha. "Later a tripartite discussion was held between the construction company, the locals, and the rural municipality, in which we gave the company some time to submit the necessary documents and continue work in a way that would not harm the environment."

The locals, however, were unhappy with the new arrangement and launched a social media campaign against the crusher plant.

Raju Pandey, a local of Ward 3 of Tinau, said that the crusher plant has continued excavations in violation of the tripartite agreement. He claimed that the agreement was that the company would stop operation until it submitted the approval documents, but they have still been using heavy machinery, excavators, and tipper trucks, among others.

"If we let them continue the work, it will have an adverse and irreversible impact on the river, forest, the bridges and human settlements. The rural municipality should not have agreed to let them continue the excavations without proper documents and assessments. We are against the local unit's decision."

According to government guidelines related to the excavation of riverbed materials, the use of excavators and loaders is prohibited during excavation in national forests, parks, reserves, buffer zone areas, protected areas, and other sensitive areas like the Chure (one of the three major hill systems in Nepal). The crusher operators can use only those equipment, machines, and vehicles approved in the EIA or IEE reports.


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