Villagers block road over illegal sand mining
Sajanagad:Illegal sand mining has caused resentment among the people living in Pundal under Nilagiri block in Balasore district. Angry over the issue, the locals staged a road blockade Friday and demanded enforcement of CrPc Section 144 at the mining site.
Locals alleged the mafia has been mining sand from Pundal ghat of river Sona. Truck and tractor loads of sand are being transported to various areas on a daily basis.
They pointed out that though officially, four ghats have been leased out for sand mining, Pundal ghat has not been leased. Locals fear that rampant sand mining at the ghat would erode the banks and finally cause diversion of the river during floods.
Besides, illegal mining has led to loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer. It was learnt that Nilagiri tehsildar Rajendra Kumar Panda had conducted a raid in the area in the past, but he had to face the fury of the mafia. Seized vehicles had been forcibly taken away from the administration.
Though villagers had drawn the attention of the administration, sand mining has not been curbed. So, locals, in a determined bid to make the administration focus on the issue, blocked the Mitrapur-Udala road, leaving vehicular movement stopped for hours.
The villagers lamented that the persistent sand mining has caused erosion of the riverbank, posing a threat to the village.
They said the administration has not been able to curb the illegal act despite repeated complaints.
Tehsildar Rajendra Panda, additional tehsildar Rakesh Kumar Panda, local IIC Nalita Modi rushed to the spot along with police forces. They tried to convince the villagers, but the latter insisted on prohibitory orders in the area and stone packing of the riverbank.
The tehsildar held talks with the drainage division in Balasore for stone packing of the riverbank. Stone packing of the embankment will not allow vehicles to enter the river, they added.