Locals say the administration unresponsive to the issue
Illegal sand mining, from the stream of a tea garden in Habiganj’s Chunarughat upazila, has led to the collapse of more than 50 houses. Hundreds of people have been affected.
The remaining houses of the Chaklapunji tea garden are also at the risk of collapse, locals said.
Furthermore, mining led to the collapse of a bridge, snapping communication lines and causing untold suffering to the garden workers.
The workers alleged a local influential leader, Jitu Mia, is involved in sand mining in Chandichhara area.
Rajboshi, a resident of the garden, says they have made a makeshift bamboo bridge to replace the collapsed bridge.
Another resident, Rajlaxmi, said sand mining is destroying all the houses in the tea garden. “Where will we go with our children if our houses are destroyed?”
Babulal Santal, chief of panchayet, the garden’s governing body, said more than 50 houses have already been destroyed by sand mining—and the rest houses will also collapse at any time.
“We want the government to resolve this,” he said.
Tea garden labourer, Swapan Bhowmik, said they already lost all of their belongings.
“Two women have already died after being stuck in the sand, but the administration has turned a deaf ear to their woes,” he said.
Another worker, Basanti Ghosh, said local leaders profit from sand mining but the poor people suffer. “The workers will be destroyed if the sand mining is not halted.”
Tea garden Manager Shubhankar Chandra Nag said they have planned to relocate the affected workers to another place.
“We have already relocated some workers. The process of moving the others is underway.”
He said if the sand mining is not stopped, the situation will become more severe.
Habiganj Additional Deputy Commissioner Nazmul Zahid Pavel said action will be taken against those responsible for mining sand illegally.