CUTTACK: With police and the administration busy in managing the lockdown, sand mafia and unauthorised brick kilns have stepped up their activities not only robbing the rivers but also raising the threat of coronavirus spread in the district.
While illegal sand mining is rampant on the banks of Mahanadi, Kathajodi, Chitrotpala, Luna, Devi and Birupa rivers in the district, several unauthorised brick kilns are operating in Cuttack Sadar, Nischintakoili, Mahanga, Kantapada and Niali blocks by the mafia in gross violation of the State Government’s lockdown order.
The sand mafia are lifting sand secretly at night and transporting the minor mineral in trucks and tractors to different parts of the district. Locals alleged that though they have brought the matter to the notice of police and revenue officials, no action has been taken against them. In some cases, even police, revenue officials and social activists are being assaulted by the mafia.
On Wednesday, a social activist Sanjay Routray sustained serious injuries after being attacked by a mafia for raising voice against illegal sand lifting from the bank of Devi river at Andeisahi under Kantapada tehsil.
Earlier, Sanjay had lodged a complaint with the Tehsildar, Collector, Chief Secretary and Chief Minister.
In another incident, a 32-year-old mechanic died after a sand-laden tractor tyre burst at his garage near Kanpur police station on Friday night. Mechanic Laxmidhar Sahoo was checking tyre pressure when the accident took place.People of these blocks have urged the district administration to stop the illegal sand lifting and brick kiln operation immediately.