Sand Mafia shrinks after DC Priyanka Mary’s raid
Udupi: A covert operation launched to crackdown on the sand mafia by Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis and Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag has been lauded by the public but the nightmare of abuses by the violent mob still continues to haunt the no-nonsense IAS officers.
It was 10:00 pm in the night the covert operation was executed. After managing to crack on the Halnadu sand mining area by arresting 6 persons, the team marched towards Kandlur on a hunt for those involved in illegal sand mining. The officials were travelling in two cars, one which was outsourced to the Zilla Panchayat and the other car driven by Assistant Commissioner’s husband.
The officials had violent followers who had managed to track the movements of the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner. 10 bikers were following the team till they reached Kandlur. It was 12.00 pm, the deputy commissioner’s presence irked the people present in 7 shelters in Kandlur, they soon fled from the place. The deputy commissioners gunman Prithviraj Jogi and the driver of the outsourced vehicle chased them. They then managed to take shelter in the houses located nearby. To the surprise of the DC led team, the people in the houses located near the sand mining area were awake, and it was clearly visible that they had planned to surround and attack anyone coming to the area.
The team led by DC Priyanka was abused in foul language, they were not convinced even after Priyanka Mary said she was the deputy commissioner.
The village accountant of Aamparu who had also accompanied the team from Kundapur was assaulted. The women and elderly people abused the DC and AC and even threatened to set their vehicles on fire. As people started to gather in large numbers the Deputy Commissioner had no choice but to leave the place.
The driver of the outsourced vehicle quickly moved his vehicle and both vehicles were driven to a safer area. From there they contacted a team of policemen who soon rescued the VA from the people present there.
The deputy commissioner was right on the leak of information, the information on raiding sand mining area in Halnadu had reached the people of Kandlur. The deputy commissioner soon vacated Kundapur as she had received information that the sand mafia had even threatened the Assistant Commissioner by surrounding her residence. The Deputy Commissioner soon returned to Udupi and lodged a complaint in the Udupi Town Police station.
While the deputy commissioner was questioned on why she had kept the operation secret risking her life, she said that the district administration was alleged to be colluded with the sand mafia, with complaints pouring in, the raid was to crackdown on the sand mafia. “I had not informed the police department because whenever a joint raid was undertaken on sand mining areas we used to find only sand procured and not the accused, the information used to leak in every department, people had started to say that every department colluded with the sand mafia, Yes it was a calculative risk, we had no idea of the implications of the raid, but the measures have to be taken”.
When asked on why sand mafia is prevailing over the district and the steps taken to curb illegal sand mining. She said that there are no legal sand blocks in Karwar, the excess transportation of sand which is profitable has promoted illegal sand mining. CCTV are installed in two check posts in Shiroor and Hosangadi, the police department can view the web streaming of CCTV cameras. There is enough sand available for local purposes and the public can avail the same. We have no intention of causing disruption in the society, we want to curb the sand mafia in the district, she added.
When asked about the arrest of the accused she said that the people from UP and Bihar did not show any resistance during the arrest. The people from UP, Bihar are not aware of the legality of the work, there is an exploitation of the workers. They put their lives on risk for procuring sand.
When asked about the support from District In-charge Minister Pramod Madhwaraj she said that the Minister has lauded the efforts to curb sand mining, he has not put any pressure. He has appreciated the bold step, she added.
With bold steps from the district administration shrinking the efforts of the sand mafia, it seems to be that the district administration will intensify its efforts in curbing the sand mafia in the district.