Illegal sand mining in Arkavathy Layout: Allottees

Illegal sand mining in Arkavathy Layout: Allottees

But BDA claims ignorance, promises to stop it immediately

As if the excruciating, decade-long wait for sites in Arkavathy Layout was not enough to try their patience, allottees have another problem at hand: illegal sand mining in the “jinxed” housing colony.

But the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which developed the layout, seems to be unaware of the latest problem. 

The Arkavathy Allottees’ Association said its members saw late on Thursday evening sand being illegally extracted in a Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) canal passing through Survey No 16 in Block No 18 of the layout on Hennur Road near Bangalore International School. 

They also saw deep pits being dug around the excavation site. When they enquired with the people on-site what was happening and who was extracting sand, they were reportedly intimidated. 

“We found people with gensets extracting water and sand. Some people were carrying filtering nets. There is a huge mound of sand and it is evident that it has been happening for the last few months,” G Shivaprakash, president of the association, told Deccan Herald. “The BDA is not doing this but we don’t know who is.” 

The allottees wonder how the incident escaped the BDA’s notice which claims its officials are working on the ground and engineers present on-site. They also raised questions about security measures in the layout, saying earthmovers excavated the site but there was no one to stop them. 

Shivaprakash recalled that two years ago, a similar incident of illegal sand mining in the 18th Block had been stopped after much difficulty. In 2007, former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde had cracked down on illegal sand mining. Sand mining has since been banned as the filtered sand extracted thus was being mixed with regular sand and sold to builders at exorbitant rates. 

Sanjay Malrecha, secretary of the association, said it was hard to believe that BDA or BWSSB officials were unaware of the ground reality. 

If no action was taken immediately and the culprits not brought to book, the association will go to court. It has already sent e-mails about illegal sand mining to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhatt. Deccan Herald has a copy of the e-mail. 

Bhat replied thus: “I have no knowledge of any such activity taking place in the area. I will get it checked immediately and ensure that it is stopped.”