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Panvel cops crack down on sand miners
Vijay Singh,TNN | Nov 26, 2015, 01.35 AM IST
Sand Mining | Probe | Police | Investigation | Criminal
NAVI MUMBAI: The Panvel police launched a major crackdown on illegal sand mining operations in the coastal regions on Tuesday. Officials seized nearly 500 bags of sand and confiscated other heavy-duty equipment used to carry out the clandestine activities.
"This is one of our biggest sand mining raids in the last 10 years. The spots were at Pargaon and Vaghivli, where mangroves had been destroyed due to the sand mining," said assistant police commissioner (Panvel) S B Suryavanshi. While no one was booked, as the men fled after seeing the police team arrive, Suryavanshi said that further investigation is on to nab the accused. The police also recovered 17 suction pumps, an earth-mover, six motorcycles, a car and other equipment used to excavate sand. Officials of Panvel taluka under the Raigad district collectorate also assisted in the exercise.
In the last two years, 38 persons have been arrested for illegal sand mining in Panvel.
"Unguarded mangroves patches along the coast in Kharghar, Kamothe, and Panvel have also been extensively damaged
because the sand miners uproot them. All this is wrecking the environment. If nothing is done, then we will see abnormal flooding and soil erosion in the near future," said environmentalist D Stalin.
Activist Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation said the state government should ensure that proper checks are conducted. "The illegal sand used in constructing buildings is rather poor quality and can also cause collapses. The state should make a foolproof plan so that people do not encroach into the wetlands to steal our natural resources," said Abdulali.
Local activists say the activities go on unchecked due to corruption and pliant government officials.
"What stops the authorities from making a strong case against the accused so that they get longer jail terms. The police must work harder to ensure that sand mining
cases don't go undetected," said an activist.