Kendrapara, June 12 (LocalWire): Illegal sand mining is continuing unabated in several river beds of Kendrapada district and locals from riverside villages alleged a nexus among the officials and the sand mafia.
Luna, Chitrotola, Mahanadi and other rivers in Kendrapara district are being plundered without any environmental clearance, they complained.
‘Illicit sand mining is going on in the river Luna with powerful local mafia groups who employ agricultural labourers.
The unauthorised sand mining is turning out to be a lucrative cottage industry,’ said Biraja Jena of Basapur.
Due to huge demand for sand by many land owners and construction companies to fill up low land before the arrival of the monsoon, illegal mining is now a lucrative business.
‘Unauthorised quarrying is currently on in about 30 places on the river beds of the district.
Each day hundreds of tractors and trucks enter the village to carry sand worsening the condition of the village roads.
Heaps of sand dot entire villages,’ said Umesh Chandra Singh, district unit president of Krusak Sabha.
‘Mafia is indulging in indiscriminate sand mining even after the district administration issued orders of quarrying specific areas for sand,’ alleged Singh.
Last year, the Special Task Force crime branch had summoned Kendrapara and Jajpur district officials regarding leasing out river beds for sand-mining to notorious gangster Usman Ali alias Tito and his associates.
During the investigation it was found that Tito and his associates minted crores of rupees from sand mining in both the districts.
‘We demanded immediate arrest of the mafias and urged the authorities to stop illegal mining. But the authorities failed to take any action against the mafias.
Illegal sand mining has led to the disappearance of river embankments and river beds,’ added Singh.
Sanjay Mishra, the sub-Collector of Kendrapara said, ‘We stopped many illegal quarries in the district.
The authorities directed all sand lifters to obtain environmental clearance from the government before carrying away sand.’