Sekmai bodies condemn apathy

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 15: Condemning the apparent lack of any positive steps from the Government's side, the Sekmai Protection Committee and  Advanced Women Society (AWS), Awang Sekmai, have questioned if the Government has no authority to prevent the sand and stone quarrying works at Sekmai river.
Speaking to media persons at Awang Sekmai today, AWS president Angom (o) Shanti said that since 2013, the two organisations have been taking up various steps to protect Sekmai river  and the organisations have also been cautioning against any form of  sand and stone quarrying in the river.
The National Green Tribunal had also banned the said works in the river and even the High Court of Manipur issued a similar order. The sand and stone quarrying work in the river is also prohibited under the Manipur Flood Plain Zoning Act 1978, she added. But sand and stone quarrying continues unabated in the river and as such, the organisations made an appeal through media on May 10 to stop such activities. A complaint was also filed to Sekmai PS on May 13.
As follow-up action, Sekmai police seized three excavators involved in the activity on the same day, she said.
However, Shanti said that it is disappointing that the OC of Sekmai PS said that they did not have the authority to stop such activities. Further alleging that the OC reasoned that  an FIR cannot be lodged and the only option left is to hand over the earth movers to their respective owners, she added that the excavators are currently in police custody after the two organisations protested the proposal of the police.
Shanti further alleged that all the hues and cries of the people  have fallen on deaf ears and the police are neglecting the issue. To whom are the people going to complain and are there no more authorities, she asked.
On the other hand, Shanti explained that the condition of the river has worsened and when wells are dug in the surrounding areas, water cannot be found anymore.
As such, she demanded the State Government to look into the matter at the earliest and cautioned that the organisations will resort to various forms of agitation if their demands are left unheeded.