TT, June 30: State irrigation department officials today said they have started collaborating with the district administration to prevent illegal lifting of sand, stones and pebbles from the riverbeds in north Bengal following instructions from the chief minister.

Lifting of sand and pebbles from the riverbeds in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts has been a common practice for many years.
“On the basis of an order issued by the National Green Tribunal, we had stopped issuing mining permits for all rivers in north Bengal from March this year. The process started last year when we stopped mining on the Teesta in November,” Subhankar Chakraborty, the superintending engineer (northeast), of the state irrigation department, said.
Yesterday, Mamata had instructed the irrigation department and the district administration officials to stop the practice.
Yesterday, the irrigation department had seized some trucks at Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri that had sand and pebbles taken out of a riverbed. It was found that the mining had been carried out on the basis of a GTA permit, although the area is out of GTA jurisdiction.