Illegal sand mining from the Kharkharia River in Saidpur upazila of Nilphamari is going on unabated, endangering the nearby farmlands and dwelling houses.
Locals alleged that Botlagari union Jubo League President Rokonuzzaman Kajal and General Secretary Sohel Sarker had long been involved in sand and soil extraction from the river. They send those to different places by tractors.
At least 100-150 tractor-loads of sand are extracted from the river every day, said the locals.
Huge croplands and homesteads along the riverbank in Janerpara, Sarkarpara and Basuniapara of the upazila are in the risk of being eroded into the river due to the unstoppable sand mining.
Besides, roads in the areas are being damaged as tractors carrying the sand and soil ply those for over 100 times every day.
Afzal Hossain, a resident of Janerpara area, said a tractor damaged a portion of the boundary wall of his house recently. When he protested the incident, local influential people threatened him with dire consequences, he alleged.
According to the tractor drivers, they transport sand illegally in exchange for money.
However, Rokonuzzaman Kajal claimed that the place where he was extracting sand used to belong to him, but got eroded by the river.
Upon contact, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Saidpur Parimal Kumar Sarkar said that he was unaware of the illegal sand mining.
"Necessary steps will be taken if we find out that anyone is extracting sand illegally," he said.