Traders and truck owners assault tahsildar; both groups stage protest

Tough measures initiated by the Gulbarga district administration to rein in the sand mafia and effectively control illegal extraction and storing of sand is snowballing into a major show-off between sand traders and the officials.

The district authorities, who imposed a ban from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the district as a first step to prevent illegal extraction and movement of sand, also seized illegally stored sand in open places in different parts of the city and its outskirts. Storing sand is prohibited under law, and sand is classified as non-trading commodity.

Traders and truck owners involved in transportation of sand, who were waiting for a chance to settle scores with the district administration, were given an opportunity when they seized a truck carrying sand near Rajapur on Tuesday evening.

This truck was meant to go to the government yard near Buddha Vihar. But it went in the opposite direction.

According to eyewitness accounts, a village accountant was found travelling in the sand-laden vehicle. The traders and truck owners, who stopped the vehicle with the sand, alleged that the Revenue Department officials, who had seized illegally stored sand, were misusing their powers by selling sand in the black market or were using it for their own purpose.

They refused to allow the village accountant to leave the spot and assaulted Gulbarga Tahsildar Prakash Chincholikar who arrived to hold talks with them.

Deputy Commissioner N.S. Prasanna Kumar and Superintendent of Police N. Satheesh Kumar, who rushed to the spot immediately on Tuesday night, told the traders and truck owners that an investigation would be conducted and the guilty punished.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner’s office complex saw several protests over the issue — first by the Karnataka State Government Employees Association which agitated against the assault on the Gulbarga Tahsildar and sought action against those responsible for the attack and then by the Lorry Owners Association which sought action against the Gulbarga Tahsildar and the village accountant for allegedly diverting seized sand for selling it in black market.

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