Illegal sand mining swallowing riverside villages in Balasore

Balasore: Rampant sand mining on the banks of Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga and Sone rivers continues to erode land near several riverside villages in the district raising concerns among the local residents.

Locals allege that sand mafia use pumps and other equipment to extract the minor minerals from the areas round the clock. They also blame the district administration for inaction against the anti-socials despite knowing the fact.

Sources said unbridled sand mining has led to severe erosion near Budhabalanga river bank posing threat to Sindhiya Nuapur and several other villages under Buanla panchayat in Balasore Sadar block.

“Due to illegal sand mining large chunks of bank have been eroded and the river continuously threatens to enter our village. Last year we also had to suffer because of flooding in the village,” said Katibudhi Khatua, a resident of Sindhia Nuapur.

Buanla Panchayat Samiti member, Rabinarayan Senapati has questioned the role of the administrative officials in the matter.

“We don’t know why the administration is silent over our concerns, because it is clear that the officials and mafia are hand in glove over sand mining. The way the river bank near our villages is eroding, it seems the villages will vanish in a few years if the administration does not take any concrete steps to check further erosion and stop illegal mining of minerals,” Senapati said.

Meanwhile, the administrative officials have assured to take stringent action against those involved in illegal sand mining.

“As the Tehsildar is the enforcing agency, the administration has already directed the official to take action in connection with illegal extraction of sand. Apart from this, the concerned RI and local police officials have also been empowered to undertake joint raids on these clandestine operations,” Balasore Sub collector Nilu Mohapatra said.