Brickyards blamed for massive soil erosion by Dimdima
Massive erosion of Dimdima river in Dooars is posing a threat to a few brickyards and the nearby villages. Locals alleged that indiscriminate and unsystematic earth lifting from the areas adjacent to the river and large-scale collections of sands from the riverbed is the main reason of worsening of the situation. Also, a local road between Shisujhumra and Dangapara turned unusable due to unsystematic digging. The owners of the brick-kilns however denied the allegation rose against them.
Recently, Dimdima river has posed fearsome to the residents of Ethelbari and Shisujumra gram panchayat areas under Madarihat-Birpara block in Dooars. Now, existence of at least nine brickfields is in danger. The swelling river may gobble up a few within a few days, the local workers fear.
There exist about ten brick-kilns along the bank of Dimdima at Ethelbari. According to the owners there are about five thousand workers engaged in these brickfields. If the river grabs these, the workers might be jobless. Smelling danger the owners and also others demanded erection of an embankment to protect the brickfields from massive river erosion.
Madarihat-Birpara Panchayat Samity sources said that the brickyard owners used to lift earth in unsystematic way without considering the future consequences. The situation aggravates during the monsoon when erosion also commences in the adjacent areas of the riverbank. Regular lifting of huge sands from the river is also a reason of the worsening situation. The department concerned never makes any inquiry into the matter, as they receive no complaints. On the otherhand, the owners of the brick-kilns denied of lifting of indiscriminate earth for their units.
Sources in Madarihat-Birpara Panchayat Samity said there was not enough fund with them to take up construction of an embankment or making facility to stop river erosion. They are to convey the situation to the Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad. A report was sought from the local Gram Panchayat body on the actual position of erosion caused by Dimdima river, the sources added. Locals opined that the MBPS and the JZP should take immediate measures to stop erosion to save the brickyards in the interest of the workers engaged in those units. If necessary, the authorities should consider launching of schemes under NREGS to protect the area, they suggested. - Debashis Bhaumik.