Nagpur: Ruffled by a series of damning reports pertaining to nefarious activities of sand ghat contractors and the dubious role of babus, the District Administration has finally put its foot down and banned excavation of sand by machines and excavators, effectively.
Irrespective of Environment Department’s summary ban on use of huge excavators for sand mining from sand ghats, some of the unscrupulous contractors were using machines in connivance of Revenue Department authorities.
Nagpur Today, in a series of revealing reports, brought to the fore the nefarious designs of the contractors and babus as well. The reports titled “Drones deployed to curb sand mafia may expose dubious acts of babus, too,” “Selective use of drones & sand ghat auction process come under cloud,” “Jolted babus raid ‘Bina-5’ sand ghat, seize a Poclain machine, 6 trucks” nailed the nasty affairs of contractors and officials.
The reports had its telling effect. The District Collector Sachin Kurve, took note of the reports seriously and cracked down on those unscrupulous contractors who were using machines and excavators for mining of sand at ghats. Drone cameras were deployed to make videos and film machines being used illegally by sand ghat contractors. Following the laid-down procedure, the District Collector forfeited entire security deposit of such sand ghat contractors in Nagpur district. Getting the message right, the sand ghat contractors have now started employing local villagers and farmers for excavating and loading sand, instead of employing huge machines. The contractors have also started employing tractors of locals for stocking sand, which has proved very beneficial for villagers. The ban on the use of Poclain machines has created employment opportunity for locals.
However, the sand ghat contractors have been left with heart burns over strict implementation of the ban on use of machines, by the Collector. And they have not given up the idea of using machines for sand mining. They have formed a union –Vidarbha Sand Ghat Owners Welfare Association, and have also approached National Green Tribunal’s Western Bench at Pune to withdraw their application as the Tribunal cited that it was not the appropriate forum to decide the issue. The said association has now approached the Nagpur Bench of High Court, with a plea to allow use of machines for excavation and loading of sand. A sand ghat contractor, on the condition of anonymity, said that sand ghat contractors will try to use Poclain machines during night hours as labourers required in huge numbers are not available. He expected the Revenue Department officials to control local sand mafia.
–Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (firstname.lastname@example.org)