Kumram Bheem Asifabad: Illegal sand mining is rampant and going unchecked in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, causing huge loss of revenues to the State government. Some persons are excavating sand from streams and rivers without permission, and earning a quick buck by selling it.
The excavation and transportation of sand crept into the district, which did not see such practices earlier. The offenders are also reportedly bribing police and other officials to earn easy profits from the illegal activity. They are able to do so in broad daylight allegedly due poor vigilance by the Mines and Geology Department.
It is learnt that sand is extensively being mined from streams in Asifabad, Bejjur, Dahegaon, Kagaznagar, Sirpur (T), Rebbena, Chintalamanepalli and Penchikalpet mandal centres. It is being extracted in large quantities from Peddavagu, a tributary of the Pranahita river near Kagaznagar town. The menace is rampant in other major gram panchayats, abutting streams, like never before according to sources.
Thirteen tractors, transporting sand by flouting norms, were seized in Kaghazngar on October 22 and four on October 14. Despite, the illegal mining is on with smugglers selling it for construction of houses and other structures. They charge somewhere between Rs 700 and Rs 1,500 per tractor of sand, approximately weighing 3 cubic metres.
Politicians encouraging activity
The smugglers, mostly belonging to political parties, are evading the royalty to be paid to the government. They are reportedly threatening authorities, citing their proximity to certain public representatives who are known for encouraging unlawful activities. Similarly, they are cashing in on the absence of reaches, which was not identified by authorities concerned so far.
Despite several attempts to contact Mining and Geology Assistant Director Nagaraju over phone, he was unavailable for comment. But, a royalty inspector said they were unable to curb the menace mainly due elected representatives backing the smugglers. “We are helpless in checking the illegal sand mining in various parts of the district,” he said, seeking anonymity.