Shivamogga: “The issue of sand mafia has increased in the district because of which the people from middle class and labourers are facing a lot of issues”, said MLC Ayanur Manjunath, here on Wednesday, May 1.
Addressing a press meet, he said, “Our MLAs are protesting against the sand mafia iin Thirthahalli and Sagar. In this mafia, some of the government officials and political leaders are involved.”
“In Sharavathi backwaters of Hosanagar town, the sand mafia is at its peak. Even though the legally specified area of sand extraction is 1.8 km, the sand extraction has spread across 9 km, illegally”, he added.
He said, “After MLA Hartal Halappa began protesting, Deputy Commissioner K A Dayanand and police officials rushed to the spot to assess the situation.”
“There we, along with the officials concerned found that lorries with numbered stickers, machinery to level the load were stocking sand without any legal tender”, he added.
Manjunath criticised saying, “No CCTV cameras have been installed here and the rates are not fixed. I urge the police department, officials of mines and geology department and the Tahsildar to take stringent action against the culprits.”
He accused the officials concerned of booking innocent people under illegal sand mining. He said, “Instead of booking the people involved in illegal activities, the officials have filed cases on over 150 innocent people, who had taken sand for their house repair and infrastructural purposes.”
Accusing the officials, Manjunath said, “Hosanagar PSI, inspector, deputy superintendent of police and officials of various other departments are involved in this illegal activity. Moreover, the police officials are behaving authoritatively. This has been brought to the notice of the deputy commissioner and he has promised to initiate strict legal action against such government staff. I hope the DC doesn’t come under any pressure.”
Manjunath also alleged that apart from the menacing sand mafia, ganja, gambling and other illegal activities too had increased in the district. He urged the superintendent of police to take strict actions.
Meanwhile, he also opined that the trees which are under legal boundaries were chopped and sold illegally in the district. He accused several officials of being hand-in-glove in these crimes.