MUMBAI: Sindhudurg district collectorate was damaged today as an agitation by dumper operators engaged in the thriving sand mining industry in the district turned violent.
MLA and son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, Nitesh Rane, who was present at the venue when the situation deteriorated, defended the violence, saying "the agitators lost patience as the authorities refused to talk to them."
"There were around 6,000 dumpers parked outside the collectorate but nobody was interested in talking to them. We were waiting since yesterday for talks. But the collector was not ready to budge from the chair," Nitesh said.
"The agitators were hungry. They lost patience. They got angry. The violence erupted after police cane charged them," he said.
Sindhudurg SP Dattatray Shinde, however, rubbished Rane's claims.
"It is wrong to say that we (police) used lathi-charge first. Around 50 persons barged in the collector's office and attacked the office, breaking glass and doors," he said.
The ban on sand mining in Maharashtra's coastal districts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Thane was lifted last year, after the state government promised the National Green Tribunal that it will ensure the mining will not affect the environment.