Badasahi: Illegal sand quarrying from river Budhbalanga still goes on as usual in Badasahi area of Mayurbhanj district. Transit passes for sand transportation are being tampered with and used again and again, a report said.
Badasahi tehsilar has reportedly collected Rs 60,000 towards penalty, royalty and Red Cross donation from three tractors engaged in sand lifting. It was alleged that the administration is showing favouristism and soft attitude towards the illegal sand lifters by just collecting some penalty.
Locals alleged that illegal sand lifting is on the rise due to an unholy nexus of the revenue administration and sand mafia.
They pointed out that low penalty on sand mafia is a clear violation of an order of Mayurbhanj sub-collector, who had asked the administration to impose a fine of Rs 80,000 from each tractor and Rs 1.25 lakh from each dumper as fine if they are caught with illegal sand during the rainy season.
It is also alleged that transit passes for sand transportation are being misused by the mafia. The date, number, timing and driver’s signature in the passes are tampered with and used for other vehicles.
Two tractors were seized on Badasahi-Pratapur road May 2. During checking of documents, one tractor had no transit pass. Police had seized the tractor. Police have drawn the attention of the Collector, the sub-collector, the SP and Badasahi tehsildar towards the misuse of transit permits.
It was leant that sand ghats at Pratapur, Arpata and Belapal were permitted for sand mining this year.
However, leaseholders have not yet deposited their royalty at the tehsil. But sand is being mined from these ghats day and night. It is rampant in Nischitpur, Bartana and Sarbeswarur while the government is losing lakhs of rupees towards revenue.
On the other hand, sand mafia has been keeping a close watch on the movement of officials at tehsil office and police stations. Mafia alerts drivers of their vehicles carrying sand in advance whenever police or tehsil officials move out for raids.
Tehsildar Urmiprabha Maharana said leaseholders are using certain kind of pen to tamper with the transit passes.
A few weeks ago, women of five SHGs and some villagers from Jamdapal, Benashola, Banakata and Bhalupera had strongly opposed illegal sand mining and had taken up the issue with Collector Vinit Bhardwaj.