Nagpur: With the series of damning reports by Nagpur Today exposing illegal excavation of sand, the District Administration swung into action and cancelled the sand mining contracts of Beena ghat. Apart from the reports, the District Administration and District Mining Officer had received complaints from District Shiv Sena Vice President Vardharaj Pillai about sand being excavated with the help of Poclain machines which is illegal. But the last nail was hit by the drones that captured the images of illegal acts conclusively.
Earlier also, contracts of seven sand ghats were also cancelled but the action remains on papers only. The ground reality is shocking. Despite sand mining contract at Beena being cancelled, huge quantity of sand was excavated slyly on the night of September 16 and the next day morning. Over 150 trucks transported the illegally mined sand and the exercise was going on without hindrance.
Nagpur Today continuously draws attention of District Administration towards illegal sand mining and it is bearing the fruits as well. It is worth mentioning that the Environment Department had permitted auctioning of 57 sand ghats in Nagpur District. Out of which 34 ghats were auctioned and the District Administration earned revenue of Rs 40 crore.
The Environment Department, while permitting sand mining, had barred use of machines at ghats. However, snubbing the rules and neglecting the authorities, the contractors operated the machines for 24 hours and excavated truck loads of sand for meeting the demands of customers.
Shiv Sena often brought the illegal acts to the fore that resulted in deployment of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) for surveillance of different sand ghats. The drones have captured illegal acts (use of machines) of contractors only at eight sand ghats and the contracts were cancelled. Deposits of these eight ghats were seized.
The office of District Collector, on the basis of complaints and recordings of drones, had summoned the sand ghat holders on September 15, 2016. However, the contractors appeared before the District Administration on September 16. The contractors were shown their illegal acts captured by drones and subsequently their contracts were cancelled. Five more sand ghats are on the radars of district authorities, sources said.
The Beena ghats are situated on Khaparkheda-Kamptee Road and come under Khaparkheda Police Station. The contracts of sand mining at these ghats were cancelled on September 16 and deposits were seized. But the sand mining is still going on with impunity. In fact, the authorities should have recovered tenfold penalties from the guilty contractors and lodged FIRs against them as well. In many cases, the district administration is in the dark as the concerned Gram Panchayat Sarpanch, Patwari, Talathi, and Beat Police Constable keep ‘silence’ for obvious reasons.
When Yashaswi Yadav was Superintendent of Police (Rural) in 2007, he had cracked down on the truant sand ghat contractors. But the current official seems to be dormant. Have the rules and regulations changed with the passage of time?
– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( firstname.lastname@example.org )