Manipur: Quarry workers demand alternative site for mining, threaten agitation

Jimmy Leivon
The Manipur High Court had taken up a suo motto PIL case based on a representation to court of rampant excavation in the river bed and washing of sand and stones in the river itself cause the river water to be polluted (Representative Image)

Reacting to the Manipur High Court’s judgment banning the unauthorised mining of sand and stone in the state, quarry workers have threatened to take up agitation if the state government does not allot an alternative site to them.

The High Court had on July 2 imposed a total ban on unauthorised stones quarrying, sand mining in all rivers of the state in order to prevent river pollution.

Ningthoujam Momon, president of Self Employ Labour of Sand and Stone Marketing Association, said that ban on quarry of stone and sand mining in the river has made life very hard for the workers as they are left with no source of income.

Read | Manipur High Court bans sand mining, stone quarry in state rivers

He said that thousands of workers are in this trade for a long time and it would be difficult for the workers to switch their trade all of sudden.

Government should not snatch the only source of livelihood of the poor labours and others involved in the business, said Momon.

He warned that the people engaged in business will be compelled to take up intense form of agitations if the government fails to provide an alternative site to continue with their trade at the earliest.

The ban order came in response to a PIL filed by the Thoubal River Conservation Committee. The court had taken suo motto cognisance of the matter based on a representation to court of rampant excavation in the river bed and washing of sand and stones in the river, causing the river pollution and making it unsafe for human consumption and other domestic purposes.

The High Court, however, exempted license holders and firms possessing lease agreements from the purview of the ban.

In Manipur, construction of building and other structures solely depends on sand and stone mined from river beds in most of the major rivers in the state.