Pernem – Villagers of Ugve have decided to hold a protest march on various government offices in Pernem on Feb 11 to protest against the inability of the state government officials to curb rampant sand extraction along the banks of the Terekhol river,.

Villagers plan to march to the offices of Dy Collector, Pernem Mamlatdar, Pernem police station, Assistant Engineer and Water Resource Department respectively. A written notice to this effect has been given to the corresponding departments. The representation bears signatures of Ugve villagers Sunil Pundalik Mahale, Chandrakant Ladu Mahale, Ramdas Tukaram Mahale, Anant Shantaram Mahale, Namdev Sabaji Mahale, Vinayak Kashinath Mahale, Santosh Pandurang Mahale and Yashwant Ramchandra.

Ugve locals allege that rampant illegal sand extraction is being carried out in the area even during night time. They also allege that the sand business lobby is resorting to bullying and threatening of locals. Despite repeated complaints and representation by the residents the authorities have been turning a blind eye towards all these illegalities claim locals. The morcha of Feb 11 has been organized to highlight the problems faced by the locals due to illegal activities of those involved in Sand extraction business. A large number of women and youth are expected to join the morcha which will begin from Poraskade .

According to the locals, sand extraction along the banks of the Terekhol river has caused large-scale damage to the environment in Pernem.. Excessive and indiscriminate sand extraction has threatened the existence of paddy cultivation along the river’s coast. Besides the paddy crop, the coconut and areca nut plantations on the banks of river are in danger. There are several instances of uprooting of coconut and areca nut palms as the river banks are collapsing. According to locals, many acres of cultivable land in the village is being destroyed as the river banks are collapsing and salt water is entering the fields.

In the past 10-15 years lakhs of square meters of land belonging to local farmers has been used by the government to build Tillari irrigation canals. In addition to that, for the expansion of the national highway a few more lakh square meters of land has been acquired from the local farmers. On the other hand due to expansion of the Terekhol river resulting out of illegal sand extraction fields and plantations are under threat. Ugve villagers wish to highlight and seek solution to these problems during the protest march.