A team led by Kodagu Assistant Commissioner M.R. Ravi on Wednesday busted an illegal sand mining racket at Shanivarasante area of Kodagu district and confiscated a huge quantity of sand and a Hitachi vehicle used to excavate sand, according to information received here.

The team comprising revenue and police officials raided two areas — at Shanivarasante and Kodlipet — and confiscated 2,500 tonnes of sand illegally mined from the Kyate river at Bembaluru-Oorugutti village near Shanivarasante found stacked on revenue lands. The value of the sand was estimated at Rs. 20 lakh. A Hitachi machine estimated at Rs. 80 lakh was confiscated during the raid.

Dr. Ravi instructed the Somwarpet Deputy Superintendent of Police, Jayaprakash, to register a criminal case against an individual who was responsible for carrying out illegal mining at Bembaluru-Oorugutti village. Again, Dr. Ravi asked the police official to register cases against three persons for allegedly occupying the revenue lands for the purpose of stacking sand.

Residents of Shanivarasante and Kodlipet areas had complained to the Revenue Department over the illegal mining taking place in their areas several times although Deputy Commissioner K.H. Ashwatha Narayana Gowda had issued directions even to the licence holders not to indulge in sand mining from March 1, 2011. He said that notices would be served to persons at Oorugutti village who had given their land to build roads to transport sand.

Dr. Ravi led his team to Malaganahalli in Kodlipet to the Hemavathy reservoir backwaters but sand mining was not found since the water level was yet to come down.

He asked the revenue officials to be alert to prevent mining.

Senior scientist of the Department of Mines and Geology N.A. Harry, Somwarpet tahsildar Devaraj, and circle inspector of police V. Krishnappa were present.

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