The archaeological site of Wadagokgre near Bhaitbari in West Garo Hills has once again come under the scanner after the Nokma of Wadagokgre allowed for the quarrying of stones and extraction of sand gravel once again from the historical site.
The illegal quarrying of stones had earlier been reported by an NGO from Phulbari following which the state Forest Department had acted on the complaint with help from the GHADC Forest Department had ensured its stoppage. The Nokma himself was warned not to give out land from the historical site for any purposes.
Wadagokgre has been beset with multiple problems mainly due to more than 300 illegal settlements coming up in the village despite the site being an Archaeological Survey of India heritage site.
However, reports of the site once again being given by the Nokma to one contractor, Abdul Rashid surfaced with many rushing to the spot to verify. Videos and photos of the illegal quarrying were circulated after which the District Forest Officer, Sachin Gavade, was informed.
When the Nokma of the area was contacted, he alleged that he had been given verbal permission from the Forest Department, something that has been vehemently denied by the authorities.
From the videos, it seems very heavy machines have been deployed in the area for the extraction of sand gravel as well as the quarrying of stones – something that requires a huge number of permissions and is not allowed in archaeological sites. The Nokma however allowed the extraction, apparently on payment of Rs 150 per tractor of sand gravel from the contractor, with stones being charged for extra.
Though unaware of the development, the DFO confirmed that a forest team went to the spot and the matter would be taken up very seriously.
“The matter is very serious and we have sent a team to the spot. We will act on the matter once the team reports back to us on their findings. Our investigation is on,” confirmed the DFO, Sachin Gavade.