Today's Paper

Illegal sand mining rampant in Srikakulam

Illegal sand mining is rampant in Srikakulam district in spite of the claims of the authorities that they are inspecting the ramps frequently and imposing fines on lawbreakers.

The sand mafia, which is highly influential, is reportedly extracting between Rs.80 crore and Rs.100 crore worth of sand every year from the Vamsadhara, Nagavali, Bahuda and Mahendratanaya rivers.

At any given time, one can see movement of fully loaded lorries and tractors -- up to 300 -- from Srikakulam to Visakhapatnam district.

The government gets only Rs.5 crore as seigniorage from the five ramps located at Yaragam, Kadumu, Sirusuwada, Billamadaand Akula. It gets nothing from the illegal sand ramps in Bhairi, Karajada, Gopinagar and Madapam.

The government collects only Rs.40 as seigniorage a cubic metre in which 1.6 tonnes of sand can be extracted.

Each lorry carries around 15 tonnes and fetches up to Rs. 8,000 in the peak season.

TDP's charge

“Every day Rs.25 lakh worth of sand is extracted by the sand mafia. Only manual labour has to be utilised for sand mining. But leaseholders are using earthmovers and Poclains in open violation of rules. Rivers will change their course very soon if the practice is not checked,” said Aravala Ravindra Babu and Muddada Krishna Murthy, Telugu Desam Party leaders who are studying the subject for the past one year.

Fine imposed

Assistant Director Mines and Geology R. Golla said the department was taking action and had recently imposed a fine of Rs.1 crore on the violators. “We will seize the sand extracted illegally and auction it immediately. Illegal activities have come down with the frequent inspections and imposition of fines.”



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