Rampant sand mining in Kolar attributed to official apathy

DC, SP lose cool at sand monitoring committee meeting

Government department officers have not obeyed orders or taken charge themselves to stop the rampant sand mining in the district, said Deputy Commissioner Dr D S Vishwanath.

He was addressing a meeting of sand monitoring committee at the DC’s office on Wednesday. Sounding highly upset by the string of reports on continued mining in the district, the DC took the government officers to task severely, often calling them idiots during the meeting.

Upset by the fact that not all officers concerned were called for the meeting, the DC himself called up the Small Irrigation Department and told the officer to attend the meeting.

“Mulbagal is a sensitive area for matters of sand mining and officers need to be on guard all the time,” said Vishwanath, asking the tahsildar Nanjaiah the number of cases booked.

The tahsildar said no case had been booked, but sand mining had been brought under control in the area.

The Deputy Commissioner reminded the tahsildar that he had himself visited Mulbagal and instructed officers to stop mining and book cases during instances of unlicensed mining.

“A complete lack of legal action would easily imply that you too are involved in such criminal activities. An affidavit will have to be submitted to the government saying so,” warned the DC and told the tahsildar to resign if he did not wish to work as required.

Check posts

Three check posts have been opened in the district- at Narasimha Theertha in Mulbagal, at Nangali in Srinivaspur, and also in Bangarpet, said T Venkatachalaiah, executive engineer of the PWD.

“But the check posts can be managed successfully only if they have police staff on the watch round-the-clock. Very often, the sand-laden lorries break through the barriers set by the PWD, the drivers threatening the guard to run the vehicle over him if he tries to stop them,” he complained.

The Deputy Commissioner, however, said a meeting was not a place to ask for police help. “A professional would only have demanded the police for support at the site. An officer cannot work like an attendant, meekly begging for aid,” he criticised.

Vishwanath, however, promised to speak to the National Highway Authority to provide another check post at Kantharaja Circle on the outskirts of Mulbagal town.

Police help

The Superintendent of Police Dr Ramniwas Sepat, who is known to maintain calm on such occasions, too strongly expressed his anger at the negligence of the officers.
“The officers have been offered police support repeatedly, yet, no officer has so far asked for help to stop the unlincensed mining. This only proves the officers’ carelessness and complacence.”

Vigilance squad

The Deputy Commissioner said a mobile vigilance squad should inspect Kolar and Mulbagal taluks at least twice a week. He also warned officers and police staff against travelling alone. “Doing so would prove to be a dangerous venture. Also, the squad leader should submit weekly reports to the Regional Transport Officers diligently,” he added.

Vishwanath said gram panchayat officers are held responsible for instances of unlicensed mining in the 1,600 tanks in the district.

“The Zilla Panchayat and the Small Irrigation Department, however, should also take the initiative to protect the tanks. The government cannot be blamed for destruction of property if the department officers themselves do not put in efforts,” he said.

The DC permitted Deputy Superintendent of Police Shrihari Baragur to patrol the National Highway on the outskirts of Kolar to control the sand mafia that is thriving extremely in 18 sites in Kolar taluk and a little lesser at least 21 places in the rest of the district.

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