Contacted, Narsingdi Deputy Commissioner Syeda Farhana Kawnine, said: "If sand lifters extract sand outside the authorized quarries, they will face legal actions. The sand lifting causes river erosion, it must be shut down."
"A project to tackle the river erosion in Chanpur and Charmodhua unions is awaiting approval from the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). If the project is sanctioned, the river erosion can be solved." the DC added.
Report by Pabitra Nayak; Balipatna: It seems, sand mafias are ruling the Balipatna and Balianta blocks of Khurda district. With rampant illegal sand lifting going on, locals feared for a massive disaster during flood and rainy seasons. Massive illegal sand lifting has created erosion near river bridges in several areas. Locals said tenders were invited for sand lifting way back in 2015 but it was only materialised in 2018 with one Kamal Kumar Patra got the bid for 8 sand ghatas in 2 blocks.
Local people said some influential people are allegedly lifting sand from the river bed using shallow machine-run dredgers and selling it to local contractors. They said the river erosion has taken a serious turn in recent weeks due to rampant sand lifting by using dredger. The under-construction project on the bank of Balianta Kushabhadra , Tankapai and Uttara areas of Khurda district has been threatened by illegal sand lifting.Local villagers are in fear of losing houses and crop lands as the erosion of river has increased in recent weeks.
Mines and Minerals Act of 1961 and also the new Mines and Minerals Act of 2015 does permit for JCB like big machines for sand lifting and violating all norms and conditions, the lease holder Kamal Patra drilling 30 ft to 40 to lift sand from river bridges of Balianta Kushabhadra , Tankapai and Uttara areas of Khurda district. Sources also feared that Jhinti area will be flooded if sand lifting not stopped as soon as possible. Sources also revealed that sand lease holder Kamal Patra has considerable influence in Jayadev Assembly segment and he played a key role in selecting Block Chairman of Balianta and Balipatna Blocks of Khurda district.
Videos are showing heavy JCB machines engaged for sand exploration work has gone viral. Sand being lifted by sand mafia by using heavy machinery which is not permissible by the Government of India and Odisha as it goes against Mines and Minerals Act,1961. We demand that District administration should take prompt action and stop sand lifting at river bridges of Balianta kushabhadra , Tankapai and Uttara because it will caused damages at the time high flood due to erosion of sand from rivers, a local in Balianta said.
However, official sources said bids have been awarded as per rules and action will be take if anything found illegal during sand lifting. Despite several attempts, on the other hand, contacts was not possible with lease holder Kamal Kumar Patra. Local villagers admitted and said.Rampant illegal sand lifting is going on and no action against sand mafias have been taken so far, they lamented. As Balipatna and Balianta blocks are flood prone area, locals are apprehending major damages during flood seasons, they added.
The photo shows sand being lifted from the Buri Bhogai River in Nalitabari Upazila. photo: observerNALITABARI, SHERPUR, Mar 26: Local life is being vitiated in Nalitabari Upazia of the district due to sand lifting from the River Buri Bhogai.According to field sources, sand is being dredged commercially from the Buri Bhogai River in the upazila. Because of protest by locals, the sand-lifting is being conducted in dark night. To escape public view, the time of the sand-lifting has been changed. Earlier, sand would be dredged during the day time.Different points of the river have been leased to some soil traders as Balu (Sand) Mahals by the district administration. It is an annual practice.Taking this as advantage, the lease-holders are lifting sand from other points which are not within the leased points.After being protested by locals, now the traders keep their mini-dredger machines off in the day. But by the late night, they are running their sand-lifting in a festive manner. At present, sand extraction is taking place at night in Nayabeel Doctor Goup point; but high sound of dredger machines is harming the locals' sleeping.Sand-lifting is also going on in more one or two points. The night-sleep of thousands of people in about four/five villages in these points is hampered; locals are apprehending about existence of their houses.On the other hand, soils have been cut in an unplanned way from croplands along banks of the river; so the river has been in existence crisis equally.Locals and environmentalists said, sand does no longer available on the Bhogai bed; cutting top soils from the river-banking croplands and lifting sand in boring system from bottom of the river; the nature and ecology of the localities have been destroyed.According to them, it is not possible to protect the Bhogai River without stopping the sand-lifting permanently; the leases should be evoked; and the law-breakers should be brought under legal actions including suing. A local inhabitant Asif Ahmed said, by informing the matter to upazila administration, there has been no remedy.Another Marfat Ali Maruf said, sand-lifting from the Bhogai River should be stopped by cancelling the lease contracts.Shahjalal, another local, said, "We can't have good sleep at night, and finding none to tell it."Nalitabari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Helena Parveen said, "It is illegal to lift sand at night.""Obviously, I shall take urgent step in this connection," she gave assurance.