Massive sand mining spotted in Sarjapur Lake

Massive sand mining spotted in Sarjapur Lake

At a time when the Sarjapur (Doddakere) Lake in southeastern Bengaluru is in need of conservation, sand mining is threatening to obliterate the waterbody. 

A massive digging of the lakebed was spotted during a surprise visit by residents of Sarjapur and panchayat members on Sunday. 

Residents living around the lake said there had been an incessant digging throughout the night for several days. “We heard the continuous movement of trucks laden with sand from the lake. It spoils the villagers’ sleep, while also kicking up dust that chokes them,” said one of the residents and a member of Voice of Sarjapur, a citizen forum that has been long fighting to save lakes in and around the neighbourhood. 

For some time now, residents have been complaining about the issue to members of the gram panchayat. On Sunday, they finally obliged as residents insisted that they should visit the lakebed with them. 

Panchayat members found earthmovers and signs of sand mining activities. 

“A massive digging has taken place in the lake. There were about 57 sand piles in the lake when we visited. I called the Sarjapur police and they immediately came to the spot and seized two earthmovers from the lake,” said a panchayat member. 

He ascribed the activity to the “sand mafia” involved in mining sand illegally for about years now. “Nobody cared as they feared about the threats from people involved in the illegal activity. I’ve received several life threats myself,” he added. 

Some residents alleged that police knew about the illegal sand mining but were bribed to look away. 

They said people with deep pockets and influence of elected representatives were involved in the illegal mining. They also control the local police. 

“This is one of the biggest lakes in Anekal taluk. We are coming together to stop illegal activities in the lake. We will conduct a meeting later this month and create awareness about this among other residents of Sarjapur,” said a member of Voice of Sarjapur.