Hatadihi: The riverbed of Baitarani under Hatadihi block in Keonjhar has been a hunting ground of sand mafia. Even as the mafia keeps on transporting truckloads of sand, the government loses revenues worth crores of rupees, a report said.
The report said, the lease term of Dimiria and Habaleswar sand ghats has expired earlier this year. However, the mafia has been carrying out extraction of sand at non-lease ghats of the river. They have created a road on which scores of heavy vehicles carry sand, locals alleged.
JCB machines have been engaged to dig out sand. Locals feared that the way sand was being excavated at the place will lead to erosion of river banks. The river may change its course, posing danger to over 30 riverside villages, local residents said, accusing the revenue department of adopting an ostrich-like attitude.
There are nine flood-prone panchayats under this tehsil. Rampant sand mining may worsen their condition in future.
Additional tehsildar Rashmiranjan Das said he was not aware of the places where illegal sand mining and transportation are taking place. “If information is given, raids will be conducted,” he added.