April 1, 2009 – Unbridled digging of stones in Panchagarh – The Financial Express

PANCHAGARH, Apr 01: Panchagarh district, in the northeastern tip of Bangladesh has a huge deposit of small stones, which are being excavated at random from underground. As a result of the senseless digging of soil a part of Vajanpur, Vitorgarh, Salbahan and some other places of Tetulia upazila are turning into deserts and posing threat of land erosion in these areas. The farmers of the areas are loosing thousands of acres of cultivable land each day and are compelled to work as day labourers to earn their livelihood. The excavated pebbles are being used in construction work. Although the prices of construction materials have increased, the prices of stones have not risen accordingly. The stone collectors have abandoned the ancient system of collecting pebbles. They are now using mechanical diggers for extracting stones from deep under the surface. So the poor labourers, who were engaged in manually extracting stones, have become jobless.  The excavated sand is destroying the fertility of the land making it difficult for farmers to grow crops in the land. Moreover, the possibility of erosion in this area is increasing day by day. The pebbles and sand businessmen are taking cultivable land on lease for digging up pebbles in the absence of government supervision. As a result the government is losing millions of taka in revenue. Local elite urged the government to take proper action to control such activities. Otherwise, natural calamity may take a heavy toll of lives and property anytime.


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