KENDRAPARA: Rampant illegal sand mining and transportation has led to sand deposits on roads and increase in air pollution in riverside villages of the district. The sand, extracted from Luna river, a tributary of Mahanadi, is carried on trucks, dumpers and tractors and since the vehicles are often not covered, sand spills on throughout the roads and highway and dust causes air pollution.
Sand deposits on roads often lead to mishaps as two-wheelers skid and lose balance. Kendrapara RTO Nikhil Patnaik said sand it is mandatory for goods vehicles to cover the sand with tarpaulin but most of them flout the norm. “We will take steps to address the issue,” he said.
Illegal sand mining has become a lucrative option for many in Baspur, Karilopatana, Aitapur, Jalapoka, Bahakhandia, Karandia, Rankala and other riverside villages in the district. With construction activities apace after monsoon, the demand for sand has gone up and so has the illegal practice. Nityananda Behera of Silipur village said hundreds of tractors and trucks carrying sand, extracted from the banks of Luna river, pass through the village. “The village road has got damaged due to plying of heavy vehicles and heaps of sand dot the entire landscape besides dust polluting the surrounding areas,” he said.
The indiscriminate mining of sand has also led to increase in anti-social activities due to frequent tussles between local mafia. The villagers said the destruction of river beds by sand mafia needs immediate attention of government.