A scam involving contractors who have been using adivasis as proxies to get tokens for river sand has been unearthed in the three panchayats of Agali, Sholayur and Pudur in Attappady.
In Agali panchayat, 52 tokens were issued. In Sholayur 53 tokens and in Pudur 55 tokens were issued in the name of adivasis. Seven adivasis have given statements to the assistant special officer, tribal development, and sub-inspector V Krishnankutty that they already own houses and were lured by a contractor who took them to Agali panchayat, where they were issued tokens by the panchayat for river sand.
The contractor then transported them back to their hamlets. Each of the adivasis was given `500. These adivasis were to be taken to the Taluk office in Mannarkad after November 1 where they would have been issued passes. Each adivasi family is entitled to four truck loads of river sand for the construction of houses. The official cost of one load is `9,000, while the open market price is `30,000. Thus, a contractor is assured of a profit of `84,000 from each adivasi family.
Seven adivasis were issued tokens and all of them have given statements to the assistant special officer that the river sand was not for their use. The contractor who collected the tokens from the panchayat has now returned it to the adivasis after the investigation process was started.