Noticing the rising market price of river sand and its demand in the construction industry, illegal sand miners are again back to their unlawful business in the Chaliyar river near Mavoor.
Unlike in the past, the labourers employed for the illegal sand extraction process hoodwink the revenue department and the police squads and cart off the quarried stock from the isolated areas.
Customised country boats made of solid metal are reportedly used for the purpose at night. Some of the local residents and youngsters at Mavoor, Peruvayal, Feroke, and Beypore are also suspected of working hand in hand with the sand mining labourers to monitor the movement of checking squads and get easy money as commission.
“The usual trickery on seeing the police is to abandon the country boats along with the stock and escape from the spot. We have started impounding such boats instantly as that is the first practical option to suppress the illegal work in a gradual way,” said a police officer, who recently took part in a major operation in the Chaliyar, seizing three customised boats. According to him, a full-fledged search is now underway on the riverbank to find out all hidden boats used for the purpose.
In support of the police and the revenue squads, some of the local administrators have formed their own vigilance committees with the participation of local volunteers. According to them, the unlicensed trade is causing a huge revenue loss to the local bodies apart from endangering the river basin.
Many such local bodies and the local environmental organisations have called upon the district administration to form a stronger patrol squad that can intercept the illegal boats and sand-laden trucks. What they want is the arrest of the illegal players, who escape from the spot using their capabilities in swimming. Fishermen and migrant labourers are also suspected to be a part of such illegal mining gangs for raking in quick bucks.
According to some of the private building contractors in the city, many of the illegal sand miners in the Chaliyar are also experts in mixing the river sand with the impure sea sand for high revenue. There are small scale and large scale purchasers, who fall prey to such trickeries which can cause huge damage to constructions, they said.