RAJAHMUNDRY: In a classic case of victimisation, East Godavari district collector Neetu Prasad has imposed a fine of `4,37,53,600 on two SHG women for mining sand in the area where permission has not been accorded.
Worse, though the sand mafia is going ahead with its nefarious activities right under the nose of the district administration and villagers have brought the issue to the notice of the government time and again, the authorities have done precious little to catch the big sharks and instead preferred to go full throttle against the innocent people.
According to sources, the collector has ordered the women to pay the fine within 15 days or face further action as per the law. Permission was given to Mutyala Satyavati and Sangisetti Macharamma for quarrying sand in 58,126 cubic feet area in Sitanagaram to clear sand dunes in their patta lands by charging `43,75,360.
The authorities confirmed that quarrying was conducted in 1,09,384 cubic feet in 6.9 acres of patta land located in the survey numbers 38/4A (4.40 acres) and 38/4B (2.50 acres). It is said that the contractors had paid the amount on behalf of the two original pattadars and carried out the operations.
Now the billion dollar question is: ‘How can the pattadars pay such a huge penal amount?’ It may be recalled that the sub-collector, who went to inspect a sand mining area, was caught in the traffic jam created by sand-laden lorries and later he was forced to reach the area by a two-wheeler.
The villagers staged protests against unauthorised sand mining. Meanwhile, the Mines and Geology Department officials went to Sitanagaram village after the sub-collector reached the place. Later, the district administration arranged check-posts.