Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Sarpanch of Juania Gram Panchayat in Kendrapara’s Aul block has alleged that the mafias are indiscriminately lifting sand illegally from the Kharasrota riverbed posing a great danger to the ecology.

As per the allegations made by the Sarpanch, Subrat Nayak, the local Tehsildar is hand in gloves with the mafia and providing them support to steal the sand by tractors and trucks.

Speaking to OTV, Nayak said, “The sands are being lifted illegally since six months from the Kharasrota riverbed near Govindpur-Juania village.”

“I have many times informed the Tehsildar about the theft. I have even written to him. But he seems to have turned a deaf ear towards all my grievances,” Nayak added.

Nayak further threatened if no action is taken within the next seven days, he along with other villagers will stage a dharna in front of the Tehsil office.

When asked, the Tehsildar, Tapan Kumar Senapati said, “I have received a written complaint from the Sarpanch about it. I have already directed the Additional Tehsildar to conduct an enquiry.”

“As far as I know, whenever I come across any kind of sand theft, I have taken action by collecting fine and seizing the vehicle,” Senapati added.

Earlier on May 8, the sand mafia had attacked an Additional Tehsildar and three Revenue Inspectors (RIs) at the Rushikulya riverbed near Malijagannathpur village under Ganjam police limits.

The Additional Tehsildar of Ganjam Tehsil, Suvendu Jena and three RIs (Bhaskar Sahu, Sitaram Sahu and Sushant Behera) were at the spot to raid following a tip-off about illegal sand mining.

Enraged by the raid, sand mafia allegedly launched an attack on the officials and thrashed them with iron rods and sticks.