MUGU, Sept 9: Manmohan Khadka of Rara Municipality-3 speaks louder these days. Other members of his family do the same. If they do not do so, they cannot hear each other, according to Khadka. “The crusher plants are operated all the time. When they make noise, we cannot hear anything except the noise,” he lamented.
Two crusher plants operate near Khadka's house. There are many other houses around. Locals say that the plants have taken their toll on their peaceful life. This is not all. There are schools around, which have been equally affected.
The environmental policy does not allow operation of crusher plants near human settlements. After detailed study of their environmental impact, such plants could be established at a certain distance from settlements.
However, for the sake of the infrastructures for the District Hospital which is under construction, such plants have been into operation in the municipality. According to the teachers of the nearby Pashupati Primary School, the noise pollution caused by the crusher plants has badly affected the health of locals including the school family.
According to Khadka, everyone at his home talks louder these days. Or else, they have to repeat the same thing again and again to make it heard to the other. “We have developed this habit due to the noise pollution. Everyone is speaking louder at home,” he said.
Meanwhile, an engineer with the project from the international helping partner KOIKA, Pratul Dhakal defended the activities. According to him, care has been taken not to disturb the people. “The crusher machines are very small. They do not make a loud noise,” he said.
Moreover, after the festival of Dashain, there will be an arrangement to soak stones and sand before they are crushed, he said. “We are taking care of the inconvenience.
For instance, stones will be crushed after they are well soaked in water, so that there is less noise. Similarly, such stones do not produce dust,” he said.
He expressed innocence over whether the environmental aspect of the crusher plants was studied prior to their operation. “I do not know about it,” he said.
It has been a few weeks since the crusher machines are being regularly used. Locals complain that the government and KOIKA did not take care of environmental factors before operating the machines. “We all know that crushing stones and sand at this level cannot be done without duly studying things. But here, no one cares,” Khadka said.
Photo caption: A crusher plant being operated with the support of KOIKA for the construction of the buildings of the District Hospital.