Odapada: Lockdown restrictions have choked most activities across the state, but sand mafia has taken advantage of this time. They are seen being on a looting spree in Baitarani river of Dhenkanal district, a report said.
The report said as revenue officials were engaged in various exercise of the COVID-19 prevention, the department has failed to keep tabs on illegal sand mining. So, sand mafia has been carrying out their activities even in broad daylight, causing huge revenue loss to the government.
Some officials raided Nadhara ghat in Baitarani Friday. Three tractors engaged in sand mining were seized. However, a mafia threatened the officials and got away with two engines of the three tractors. Only a tipper and careers of three tractors were seized.
Locals alleged that as revenue officials had lowered their guard due to the lockdown, sand mafia keep tabs on the movements of revenue officials and carry out sand mining with connivance of some police officials.
Earlier, locals had opposed such sand mining in the area, but the mafia used to threaten the former. Resentment brewed among local residents over rampant sand mining.
Sub-Collector Saphalya Mandit Pradhan, however, got to know of the sand mining and directed officials to conduct raids in the area.
As tractors and vehicles were seized, the mafia had erased chasis number on a tractor engine. They also decamped with the engine by threatening the officials.
Locals demanded that the administration take stern action against the sand mafia.