THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a brief lull, illegal sand mining is back in the rural areas of the capital district. The attack on a man who opposed the transportation of sand mined from a paddyfield at Vellarada the other day has come a wake up call for the police to tighten vigil.
Officials said the mafia has now turned to mine sand from agricultural lands after the police tightened surveillance in rivers.
Besides the catchments of Aruvikkara Dam, low-lying areas on the banks of the Neyyar river have become a hotbed of the activities of the sand mafia.
Illegal mining is often reported from Vattom, Korukkalkadavu, Pazhayakada, Mavilakadavu - all lying on the Neyyar banks.
Neyyattinkara DySP Y R Restum said his deputies have been directed to step up surveillance. “The areas under the limits of Vellarada, Aryancode and Marayamuttom stations are being monitored. A couple of cases were registered over the past one week,” he said.
Restum hoped strict monitoring would put an end to the illegal practice citing the case of the Poovar-Olathanni stretch of the Neyyar river. “The area was once notorious for illegal mining. After the police launched several drives, including night-time boat patrol, we could stop the menace,” he said.
Local self-government representatives said increased surveillance had shown good results in the past. “Earlier, when the police conducted regular patrolling, there was a decline in illegal mining,” said Aruvikkara panchayat president A A Hakeem.
No Arrests Yet
The police, till Sunday, were not able to book the trio who attacked Robert Raj of Vellarada on Thursday. The 42-year-old was attacked when he opposed the transportation of sand mined from the paddyfield of his neighbour, identified as Vincent.
According to the police, Robert Raj, in his attempt to block the sand-laden truck, got trapped under the vehicle. The rear wheel of the lorry ran over his legs. He is now undergoing treatment at CSI Medical College, Karakonam.
Vellarada grama panchayat president C Ashok Kumar, who visited Robert Raj, said he was recuperating well. “One leg was severely fractured and doctors were not sure of its complete recovery,” he said.
The accused in the case, Robert Raj’s neighbour Vincent, his accomplices - one Jayalal and the truck driver - are absconding. The police seized the abandoned truck from Nilamamoodu which shares the border with Tamil Nadu.