BERHAMPUR: The decision of the State Government to set up mineral police stations would not only help in checking illegal rampant smuggling of sand but also save the revenue loss that the State exchequer has been incurring due to such illegal activities. Though the revenue officials, including Berhampur Sub-Collector Siddhartha Sankar Swain and tehsildars frequently raid illegal transportation of minor minerals but the action was confined to imposing fines as they did not have the power to take them to task without police assistance.
During a recent raid, Digapahandi tehsildar found himself in an unpleasant situation in the presence of sand mafia. Similar attack on revenue officials was also reported from various other places in the State. To overcome the crisis, the State Government decided to establish 10 mineral police stations in 10 mineral-rich areas of eight districts, in a bid to curb theft as well prevent frequent breach of law.
The proposed police stations in Ganjam district would come up at Chattrapur and Bhanjanagar. Ahead of establishment of the proposed mineral police stations, one section of Armed Police Reserve (APR) force would be at the disposal of tehsildars concerned to speed up the drive against illegal smuggling of mineral ores and minor minerals, stated a letter from Home Department to Director-General of Police.
It is becoming difficult on part of the tehsildars concerned to put brakes on the illegal mining operation by mafia without the assistance of police forces. There are instances of tehsildars and revenue officials being attacked by goons employed by the mafia during raids on illegal mining. It has become imperative to provide police assistance in mineral-rich tehsils, said a local.But, sources in Ganjam district police headquarters said they are yet to receive any communication in this regard.