JEYPORE: Revenue staff have started patrolling Ghatbagara area in the district to stop sand mining from Kolab river. Led by Additional tehsildar MR Patnaik, they have been patrolling the area since Sunday.
Rampant illegal sand mining from the river near Ghatbagara under Jeypore block and its smuggling to Andhra Pradesh has taken a toll on the river which has started changing its course.
A contractor was granted lease for dredging small quantities of sand from Kolab for local use in 2017 for a period of five years but he has been allegedly extracting sand beyond the permissible limits and smuggling it to the neighbouring State. The locals claimed that the licence was issued without consulting the Forest and Environment Department. Besides, there was a nexus between revenue officials and the contractor. Environment activists had alleged that regular extraction of sand has led to landslides and erosion of the embankments near Ghatbagara, Dangarpunsi and Khotalapadar. It has also caused diversion of the river’s path.