KALPETTA: The Wayanad Prakriti Samrakshana Samiti (WPSS) has alleged major corruption in the dredging of Kabani river to remove sediments accumulated in the river bed during last year's flood.
The WPSS alleged that sand worth crores of rupees was mined from the river under the guise of removing sediments.
"Under the cover of the District Disaster Management Authority's (DDMA) permission to remove sediments, sand worth crores of rupees was mined from 25 boat jetties of Panamaram gram panchayat, in
collusion with the panchayat governing body," alleged WPSS president N Badusha.
"Around 2,500 tipper loads of sand have been mined and stocked at secret places at Neervaram, Neerachadi, Kaipadukunnu, Kandala, Kappamchaal and Padachaal in Wayanad and Kuttiadi in Kozhikode district. The market price of a tipper load of sand is Rs 15,000," he said.
According to WPSS, though dredging was allowed from June 1-15, the gram panchayat illegally extended it till June 20 without re-tendering. "A battalion of sand miners, 500 workers including diving experts, 50 tipper lorries, 10 fibre boats and earth movers were engaged in indiscriminate mining for the last 25 days.
"Loads of sand are being pumped from the bottom of the river using motors. The DDMA too is responsible for this. The mined sand should be recovered and a Vigilance probe should be ordered," said Badusha.
Meanwhile, Panamaram gram panchayat president Shiney Krishnan dismissed the allegations, saying sediments comprising sand, mud and remnants of trees were removed from the river bed and not just sand alone.
"The dredging was done only in five boat jetties and not in 25 jetties as alleged. The time period for
dredging was extended as the work got stalled due to the heavy downpour. All this was being done as per DDMA guidelines," Shiney told TNIE.