Day light sand theft in Terekhol channel, sand mafias in action
Locals under pressure by Goan sand developer lobby
Banda: Terekhol channel is getting exploited with day light illegal diggings between Kas and Satarda. The area comes under the Madura Revenue circle but no action has been taken yet so far. The local farmers are alleging that the diggings were affecting government revenue but the concerned officers’ personal revenue had ‘increased’.
It is reported that a massive digging is carried out in the banks of Terekhol river in the border areas of Maharashtra. Earlier there was a stron demand to stop the sand digging from the areas of Kas, Satose, Sherla and Satarda. As per the demand, the then Tehsildar Vikas Patil had ordered the revenue circle officer along with the Talathi were ordered to take action against the illegal diggers.
The officers also took direct actions at Aronda, Satose and Satarda. But at present an open sand digging is carried out in the limits of these villages. Thus by each year the channel is getting deeper and deeper. It has directly affected the farming adjacent to the channel.
In past 10 to 15 years it is clearly seen that hundreds of acre farming land is collapsed into the channel between Sherla and Satarda. But concerned officials are not ‘concerned’ about the diggings and their aftermaths.
There is a strong demand of sand from Terekhol in the district as well as from Goa. The locals alleged that though the maritime board has not fixed the border of Goa and Maharashtra in Terekhol channel, the mid section of the channel is considered as a border. The sand businessmen from Goa trespass the limits of villages like Sherla, Satose and Satarda and dig the sand. The locals have complained to the revenue department. But no action has been taken at the incidents at so far. The local officers avoid even to inspect the channel area.
The local farmers allege that there was illegal financial nexus in between the trespassers and the local officers. If such inspections are carried out by strong demand, the farmers claimed that the trespassers get the ‘hint’ so early that almost all of them just get disappear from the scene and action is taken against mere one or two. It is reported that at present around 40 boats full of sand are dug out of the channel from dawns to the evening.
The locals also demanded that the first preference should be given to them for the digging of the sand. They think that the act will provide a source of income to the local unemployed youth of these villages.
Some villagers think that if the auction process is carried out, the government would also get benefited. But the local thought that the local officers were worried about ‘their share’, so they avoided taking the auctions.