THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The intelligence wing had recently alerted the government about the increase in activities of sand and soil mining gangs in the state, but not much follow-up actions were taken on the report.
As per trusted sources, the State Special Branch had apprised the government of the extend of the activities of the gangs, most of them working as organised criminal groups. The report was discussed in detail during a high-level meeting attended by the district collectors here last month.
The Special Branch report had given an exact number of gangs operating in each district. “Specific instructions were given on the measures to be taken against mining rackets. But the instructions have not percolated down to the lower ranks,” said a senior officer, who was privy to the meeting.
Sources said the reason for the tepid response of the authorities towards the issue is the proximity that the mining mafia enjoys with politicians. “A lot of illegal mining gangs enjoys political patronage at the grassroot level. This helps them evade police net,” said an officer. In certain cases, police officials were found to be hand in glove with the mining mafia. Special Branch sources said they have filed a report in this regard with State Police Chief.
Meanwhile, a senior officer in Thiruvananthapuram police range told TNIE that action will be taken against cops if the allegation is true.
“If there are one or two cops who are assisting the mining mafia, it’s an abberation and does not reflect the work ethics of the force. Strict action will be taken against them,” the officer said. The officer added that other departments concerned, such as mining and geology, and revenue, should be more proactive and deal with the issue.