Baripada: The Budhabalanga riverbed has been a hunting ground for sand mafia at different riparian pockets in Mayurbhanj district. Due to illegal sand mining, the government has been losing lakhs of rupees, a report.
Besides, wanton extraction of sand leads to erosion of river banks in several riverside villages in the district raising concerns among the local residents.
Even transit passes given by tehsil are allegedly being misused by some lease holders while the Revenue department is allegedly looking the other way.
Locals alleged that local administration and sand mafia have formed a nexus to loot minor mineral day and night.
At Arpata sand mine under Badasahi tehsil, sand mafia has been using swamp pump sets to extract sand from its bed in violation of environment protection norms. This causes massive erosion of banks, causing resentment in riparian villages. Hundreds of trucks and tractors cart away sand from the river on a daily basis, locals alleged, pointing out that at different places, mafia has stocked sand.
Locals allege that at some places, sand lease holders use pumps and other equipment to extract the minor minerals in the areas like Arpata, Mahupura, Belapal, Dingira, Tuna Gambharia, and Pratapur. However, Sakua sand mine was not leased out this year.
The administration has been flayed for inaction against the sand looters despite knowing the fact.
“Due to illegal sand mining large chunks of riverbank has been eroded and the river continuously threatens to enter our village. Every year we had to suffer a lot because of flooding in the village,” said a local.
Meanwhile, tehsildar Mumtaz Moharana said if sand is being extracted through swamp pump sets, action will be taken against the lease holders. The matter will be investigated, she added.