Sand extraction in Terekhol river cause large-scale damage in Pernem

 Rampant sand extraction along the banks of the Terekhol river has caused large-scale damage to the environment in Pernem. Locals are quite unhappy and claim that the officials are turning a blind eye to the issue.

During this monsoon itself, extensive soil erosion has occurred in the villages of Torxem, Porascadem, Mopa and Uguem in Pernem. Agricultural land has been damaged and coconut trees have got uprooted.

Sand extraction is flourishing in Pernem taluka without any regard to law. Gram sabhas after gram sabhas have been opposing the activity yet little is being done to stop sand extraction. Some time back, the Torxem gram sabha had unanimously come out against sand extraction activity and just few days back the Mopa panchayat followed suit.

The sarpanch of Tamboxem-Mopa-Uguem, Mr Vinayak Mahale led a delegation to the Pernem Mamlatdar, Mr Satish Dessai to impress upon him the need to ban sand extraction activity and bring an end to the harm it is causing to the banks of the Terekhol river. Mr Mahale informed that a lot of agricultural land was being damaged and even some houses were facing a threat of collapse due to rapid soil erosion.     

According to the locals, excessive and indiscriminate sand extraction in the Terekhol river has threatened the existence of paddy cultivation along the river’s coast. Besides the paddy crop, the coconut and areca nut plantations on the banks of river are in danger. There are several instances of uprooting of coconut and areca nut palms as the river banks are collapsing. According to locals, many acres of cultivable land in the village is being destroyed as the river banks are collapsing and salt water is entering the fields.

On the other hand, the Torxem sarpanch, Mr Vilas Shetye has also supported his villagers who were seeking some strict action against this large-scale sand extraction. Mr Shetye said that some sand extraction activity can be allowed under some guidelines adding that presently the activity is just going on without any limit. Not just along these villages but sand extraction activity is also going on even in Colvale river in Bardez, but the situation in Pernem is quite serious. Large heaps of sand can be seen dumped at Korgao and Kiranpani with even houses of labourers flourishing there.  

Though the Pernem Mamlatdar, Mr Dessai has assured a delegation that had called on him that he would do the needful in the matter, locals feel that it is high time that authorities act as any delay would destroy a large amount of cultivable land.

Efforts on the part of the Pernem police in the past by warning those involved in this activity have not yielded the desired results and damage to land is increasing with each passing day. [NT]