Published On : Mon, Sep 19th, 2016

Protest against sand-ghat auction by contractors a mere gimmick


Nagpur: Deputy District Chief of Shiv Sena Varadharaj Pillai has termed the protest against the on-line auction slated to be held on September 20, 2016 by Sand Ghat contractors on September 17, 2016 as mere gimmick. If they want to really protest against the auction, why did more than four dozen contractors register their names (under fictitious names too) for procuring the rights for sand excavations, demanded Varadharaj Pillai. He added that this protest is simply made to scare away new and smaller contractors from venturing into this business.

While concurring to the allegations of Varadharaj Pillai, an official of the District Excavation (Mining) Department said that for years together, the contracts for excavation of sand have been given under the initiatives of the District Administration. Most of those who bag the contract of sand excavation do it in the name of some other company or in the name of some scapegoat.

If the sand-ghat excavation business is done following all the rules and regulations, then the bid amount would never be in crores, but since the entire business is illegal and not adhering to any rules and regulations, whenever a ruckus is created over the illegal excavations of sand, the scapegoat is pushed forward to bear the consequences and thus the real culprits save their own skin.

Earlier very few selective people used to enter into the auction of sand ghat excavation and the bid amount used to start in a few thousands and end in lakhs. From the time the people noticed that the invested amount is yielding four times the invested amount, competition and illegality too rose.

Sources alleged that the District Collector, Mining Officer, Sub Divisional Officer, Tehsildar, Beat Official, Patwari and Sarpanch allegedly leave no stones unturned in interfering with nature and environment for ulterior motives. They themselves give oral permissions and not only earn huge money in the form of bribes but turn a blind eye towards those involved in illegal sand excavation of sand.

According to the official of the District Excavation (Mining) Department, those persons who had opposed the on-line auction of sand ghat excavation contract, had in-fact registered under many fictitious names for the auction of the contract. The number of those who have registered for sand ghat excavation contract is said to be fifty. If they are protesting the present system of sand-ghat auction, why did they register for the contract. The official claimed that this protest was made in order to prevent new comers and small contractors from entering the fray of sand excavation, while these protestors will take part in the auction process directly or indirectly. Later on these protestors will get into an agreement with the district administration and everything will go on as before.

According to Pillai, last year in order to acquire all the contracts for sand excavation contracts, just before the contracts were awarded, some of the local contractors had joined hands with some contractors from Madhya Pradesh and formed an unregistered firm. Nitin Kamale and Vardharaj Pillai did not become part of the unregistered company.

The members of the company deposited the amount and had taken various contracts for sand excavation under fictitious names in the auction. The royalty book of another ghat was used when the royalty book of those ghats where sand is in plenty. Machine was used for excavation in almost most of the ghats and excavation was also done day and night and no one was harmed.

Illegal sand excavation going in ghat next to closed Bina ghat
It could be mentioned that as soon as it came to fore that machinery was used for excavation of sand using drones, the district administration had closed down sand excavation in Bina Ghat. As soon as this ghat closed down, sand excavation started in full form from Saturday at the ghat situated adjacent to this ghat taken in the name of S K Enterprises. Till the time of filing the story, nearly 250 truckloads of sand was excavated and dispatched to its destination.

Excavation of sand using machine started before 6 am in the morning and from 6-8 pm in the evening. Similarly machine is used to excavate sand in Sonegaon Sand Ghat in Kamptee area too. The local Sub Divisional Officer and Tehsildar is well aware of this illegal excavation of sand.
By Rajeev Kushwaha