CHENNAI: The restrictions imposed on vehicular movement have impacted life and trade of several people — including smugglers. Those smuggling natural resources like sand have had to rack their brains and come up with innovative ideas to continue their trade. The police have arrested 123 people in the last three months for smuggling sand in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. Between 22 March and 18 May, 155 cases have been filed against 172 people. The smugglers were caught using hired bikes and trucks, load autos, JCB, and even bullock carts to transport sand.
“Many of them were found carrying sand in gunny bags stacked up on their bikes. So far we have seized 77 bikes in Tiruvallur,” an officer said. Now, patrolling and checks have been intensified to deal with the smugglers.
“Before lockdown, they used to smuggle at nights. Now, they have shifted to day time. They have dug up pits of 20-30 feet depth, which has resulted in groundwater depletion,” say villagers. “Some smugglers have also hired local youngsters the job,” a villager added.