Sand mafia at Dahisar mangroves desert operation

Jul 02, 2014, 06:54 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

After mid-day exposed the illegal sand mining that was destroying mangroves near Ganpat Patil Nagar, the culprits abandoned their ways and fled from the site with their equipment

After this paper published a report exposing the sand mining rampant in the mangrove belt near Dahisar, the culprits responsible for it have fled from the spot, lock, stock and barrel, leaving only a few empty trucks behind.

Also read: Sand mafia destroying mangroves in Dahisar belt

Crooks who were sucking out sand from the mangroves belt have fled the scene, leaving behind some empty trucks and a JCB. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Crooks who were sucking out sand from the mangroves belt have fled the scene, leaving behind some empty trucks and a JCB. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Following the report on June 30, officials from the local tehsildar’s office visited the site to check on the illegal activity, something they were seemingly unaware of for the past many months.

Prashant Mane, tehsildar, said, “After your paper published the story, field officials went to the location. I have asked them to submit a report on their findings and we will see to it that if sand mining is happening, appropriate action will be taken against those responsible, as mandated by the law.”

mid-day’s June 30 report
mid-day’s June 30 report

In the story, this correspondent had written about how authorities had seemingly turned a blind eye to sand mining at the vital mangrove patch near the Ganpat Patil Nagar slum. During our visit to the spot, we had observed pumps and motors sucking out sand from the bed of the plantation and then being loaded into trucks.

Sand is a crucial component of the mixture of construction material used in buildings. Despite locals having apprised authorities of the matter, nobody had cared to take a look at the activities.

When officials from the tehsildar’s office made a trip to the mangrove patch on Monday, they found that the suction pump and the motor were nowhere to be found. The crooks had fled from the scene, leaving behind empty trucks and a bulldozer. When this reporter went there yesterday, the situation was still the same.

A resident of a building from where the activity of sand mining can be seen, requesting anonymity, said, “It was only after mid-day published the article that the sand extraction has been stopped. We hope it doesn’t return in future, as well.”

RTI activist Harish Pande, who had filed the complaint to officials, asking them to take action against the activity, cautioned, “It is good that the activity has been stopped, but it shouldn’t start again. In my view, this is only possible if there is continuous patrolling by the concerned agencies responsible for maintaining this belt.”

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