Dar es Salaam. The government has on Tuesday ordered the Tanzania People Defense Forces (TPDF) officers to stop sand mining activities along Tegeta River after residents of Kisanga B, Tegeta filed a complaint that the army officers were extracting sand from the riverbed, something that was deemed as an environmental hazard.
According to residents the ongoing sand mining activity was bound to disturb the river water flow and put their lives and properties in danger during rainy days.
River Tegeta pours its water into the Indian Ocean and it is usually active during the rainy seasons of the year.
Speaking to The Citizen, Kisanga Chairperson Mwajuma Mrisho said she had received complaints from the residents on Sunday, August 2 and then she reported the matter to the Kinondoni District Commissioner who later ordered the army officers to stop the mining exercise.
“I personally visited the site and witnessed the ongoing sand mining activities carried out at the River by the army officers. When I asked them if they had a permit to do so, they said they were granted the permit by the Kinondoni Municipal director, but later I came to realize it was not true,” said Ms Mrisho.
The chairperson further disclosed that her office was not consulted by the army officers about the sand mining exercise along the river.
According to an eye witness, over 40 heavy trucks were on Monday spotted at the area carrying tonnes of sand extracted from the River.
“During rainy days some of us living along the river, become victims of the floods. The ongoing sand mining at the riverbed will make things even worse for us. We are appealing to the government to stop the exercise for the sake of our lives,” one of the residents who preferred anonymity.
TPDF’s Lieutenant Colonel David Luhoga who supervised the sand mining exercise at the River clarified that the sand was being used for the construction of the Sh7.5 billion Mwenge Bus Stand, Sh3 billion Stadium for KMC and 4th-floor Kinondoni Municipal office.
According to Lt Col Luhoga, the government has contracted the TPDF to implement the projects.
“We ran out of sand so we decided to extract sand from the River which is passing just at the back of my house. Thus, if it was something that endangers the community living alongside the River, I would be the one to worry because the exercise is taking place just nearby my house,” said the TPDF officer.
He added that the exercise was conducted in compliance with the environmental guidelines to ensure that the area remained free from soil erosion even during rainy days.