Champua: Illegal sand mining has been rampant at different ghats of the Baitarani river in Champua area of Keonjhar district.
As the administration has failed to curb the illegal extraction and transportation of the minor mineral, the revenue department has finally dug out trenches across roads on river embankments to prevent mafia from lifting sand and transporting it from the areas close to Kesharikund and Kalikaprasad.
According to reports, the riverbed of Baitarani at different places has turned out to be a safe haven for sand mafia. Due to rampant illegal sand mining, the state government has been losing crores of rupees towards revenue annually.
But the administration is allegdly sitting pretty, locals alleged. Locals said, mafia keeps on plundering truckloads of sand from the river day and night while some quarries have not been made operational even after tenders were finalised.
In such a situation, mafia has set its sight on the Baitarani sand. Sand is being lifted near tourist spots like Kesharikund and Kalikaprasad. Locals voiced fears that if illegal sand excavation goes on in this manner, these tourist sites will face threat.
Earlier, revenue officials used to act against the sand mafia with seizure of vehicles and slapping of fines, but this has stopped for some time. On being informed, Champua tehsildar Sai Sasmita Hota had visited the spots where sand was mined.
She saw some routes on which sand was being transported in tractors from the riverbed. She had ordered for digging of trenches. Revenue inspectors have initiated digging of trenches across roads to prevent mafia from looting sand, she added.