The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday constituted a committee to look into the illegal sand mining from the Cooum river close to the Marina in Chennai.
Historically, illegal and unscientific sand mining have taken a toll on rivers and the ecosystem around them. Sand mafias have continued to thrive under political patronage.
Mentioning the TNIE exposé, the statement said, “The biggest concern is that this sea sand is not suitable for construction, and experts have said buildings constructed with it would collapse.
Meanwhile, Sandeep Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary to the State Government, Public Works Department, remained unavailable for a comment.
According to private directories, the registration numbers of a few others were those of motorbikes.
The Odisha government on Thursday notified the Odisha Sand Policy - 2021 to promote scientific and sustainable mining of the minor mineral in the State.
As many as 30 godowns stocked with 4,55,245 tonne of beach minerals and 3,12,314 tonne non-processed raw beach sand had been sealed in 2017.
Apart from targeting the riverbeds in the district, the mafia were reportedly extracting sand illegally from Balighai on the Puri-Konark marine drive road, said sources.
The State has a minor mineral policy but the first such sand policy looks to put in place DSR for assessment in each district and map demand-supply trend by the competent authority.
Along with the cops, three officers of the Mining Department and three officers of the Transport Department are also suspended.
The tribunal asked the committee as to why it had not taken the help of satellite images to understand the extent of mining and instead declared there was no mining because of floods in Subarnarekha.
Residents of Arapata revenue village, which comprises over 1,000 families, are now alleging the tehsildar of conniving with the illegal sand mafia and depriving them of their due entitlements.
Wildlife movement is getting hampered but since it belongs to a leader on private area, we are helpless.
Sixteen other drivers were held in similar operations during last week while vehicle owners had to cough up fine for the illegal activity.
As many as six people have died in the last 49 days while passing the Godavari river in Bhadrachalam.