By: Almama Kamaso
Scores of villagers from Faraba have raised serious concern over sand mining activities of Julakay Construction Company in their area.
The villagers in their hundreds came up with the complaints during a meeting with members of the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment which has resumed its nation-wide tour on Thursday starting with Faraba Village of the West Coast region. The committee is paying attention to different mining sites or “quarays” and dumpsites as they relate to the issues of environment and health.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the villagers and the mining company have had clashes and some arrests were made and now the Police Intervention Unit are based at the site to allow easy access to the site by the company. The village has two mining sites; one for gravel and the other for sand and according to the Chairman of Faraba’s Village Development Committee, Alhagie Sanyang the mining activities is rendering the community with virtually no rice farms to feed its population anymore.
The MP’s Select Committee, headed by Hon. Sainey Touray of Jara East Constituency was taken on an inspection tour of the area. The villagers complained that due to mining activities they can no longer cultivate their rice fields due to salt intrusion as a result of clay mining by Muchtarr Holding Company.
At the Kayaring Fields were Julakay Group is said to be given license to mine 8.1 hectare of land by government, hundreds of villagers consisting of old and young were out at the site to see the visiting parliamentarians and they insisted that no mining would take place on their land.
One of the villagers told the parliamentarians that the space between their rice fields and the sea was what was given to Julakay and once that potion get mined, the possibility of salt water intruding was very high and finally they would lose the fields to the water.
Many who spoke to the members of the Environment Committee including the VDC Chairman did say that the consent of the villagers was not at all sought and that it was the head of the village and few other elders who gave the green light for Julakay and his company to mine sand at their backyard. They alleged that those few elders were induced with money into accepting such a deal.
However, when this claim was put to Jukakay he quickly denied giving out money to anyone. Earlier on, Julakay said he was already given a license to operate and he was going ahead to mine despite the fact that his operations had some difficulties leading the police to put up a small base on the outskirts of the village.
By: Almama Kamaso