Miners are illegally extracting sand from government-owned land near the Dhaleshwari river in Bashaider Chor of Tangail.
Around 15 to 16 trucks and dump trucks are at the site on a regular basis, each one carrying away the sand.
Dewan Sumon Ahmed, a former chairman of Katuli Union, has been accused of being behind the unauthorised sand mining, which has been going on for a while.
According to local sources, the roads near the river are in extremely poor condition and the air is polluted with sand particles. The locals claim to have notified the authorities on several occasions about the illegal mining, however, the issue is yet to be resolved.
Tangail Sadar Assistant Commissioner (Land) Shukhmoy Sarkar said: “Former chairman of Katuli Union Parishad Dewan Sumon Ahmed is illegally extracting sand from the government-owned land.
“When he tried to illegally mine last time, his dredgers were burned.”
However, he did not disclose details regarding who had burned down the dredgers.
Preferring anonymity, a local said: “Dewan is using his influence to help the sand miners carry on with their illegal work. “Whenever we try to intervene, we are attacked. The roads near the Dhaleshwari river are nearly unusable at this point. We have complained to the authorities to no avail.”
Another local, also preferring to remain unnamed, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The bridge above the river is at risk as well. Multiple heavy trucks are driven across the bridge every day and we fear it might affect the bridge’s structural integrity.” Regarding the matter, Dewan Sumon Ahmed said: “I am only extracting sand from my own land, not anybody else’s, or from government owned property.
“Whatever damage is being caused to the roads is mended each year from the tax money that I pay. I have been doing this for a long time and I know how to manage everything.”
About the ownership of the land, Assistant Commissioner (Land) Shukhmoy Sarkar said: “Dewan claims that the land is owned by him, but this is a completely groundless statement. “The land is owned by the government.”
Stating the rules, he said: “Even on private property, one cannot mine more than three feet deep and without permission from the local authority. This land is not privately owned by him. “We will take necessary action against Dewan as soon as possible.”