BALASORE: Sand mafia from West Bengal continue to lift sand illegally and spread terror along Subarnarekha river bed in Balasore district despite a ban order. They gheraoed a Tehsildar and police official for hours together for preventing them from illegal sand excavation on Tuesday.
Jaleswar Tehsildar Ramachandra Kisku and OIC of Raibania police station Laxman Behera had gone to a sand mine in Sadar ghat of Rajnagar to stop illegal mining. After they reached there, members of sand mafia gheraoed them. Normalcy was restored after a team of Dantun police officer from West Bengal intervened. The mafia members claimed that they have been providing lease money to West Bengal Government and Odisha Government cannot prevent them from carrying out sand mining.
Revenue and police officials of both Balasore and Midnapore districts have been at loggerheads over the mining of sand from Subarnarekha river bed since long.
On June 21, the district administration had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC on a stretch of nearly 10 km along the river bed after it demolished 15 illegal sand quarries. However, after three months, they have once again started lifting sand from the same locations.
Sand smuggling from Subarnarekha has been continuing for the last two decades, but sand mafia became violent after the district administration demolished illegal sand quarries and auctioned them in April.
Collector Pramod Kumar Das said it is an old dispute and can be solved if the higher authorities of both the States sit for a discussion. “I have written a letter to my West Midnapore counterpart urging him to adhere to the decision taken during the joint talks. RDC (Central) is likely to visit the spots soon and take up the matter with the Government,” he added.