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Logo to check sand smuggling in Birbhum

Suri, Nov. 19: The Birbhum administration has decided to bring out invoices with its logo on it to prevent illegal smuggling of sand from five rivers in the district.

Officials said the decision to introduce the logo on the chalans was taken after police caught truck drivers with hundreds of fake invoices that allowed lease holders to dig up sand more than permitted by the government.

“We have decided that ‘DL & LRO Birbhum’ will be written on every chalan and this will be used as the logo,” said Shyamashis Roy, the district land and land reforms officer of Birbhum.

DL & LRO stands for district land and land reforms office.

“We have developed a logo with a font and style that we believe will be difficult to forge,” a district official said.

The official added that the district administration had reports that lease owners of river banks gave fake chalans to people buying sand from them and thus evaded government tax.

The government floats tenders every year to give away several stretches along the river banks on lease for sand mining.

Sources in the land department said there were about 160 stretches along the five rivers — Ajay, Mayurakshi, Brahmmani, Dwarka and Pagla — where sand was dug up.

The department collects royalty at Rs 115 for every cubic feet of sand a lease holder has been permitted to extract.

“Say, a lease holder has been allowed to dig up and sell 50,000 cubic feet of sand from a particular river bank. Instead, he has dug up more than 50,000 cubic feet and smuggled the sand through check posts with the help of fake chalans,” a district land department officer said.

According to some district officials, lease holders were digging sand to the tune of 4 lakh cubic feet. The lease owners have permission for only 50,000 to 60,000 cubic feet.

A copy of the invoice — with the seal and signature from the DL & LRO — has to be carried by the truck driver and produced it before land department inspectors and the police at check posts.

Each invoice will have three copies. One will be with the lease holder, one copy will have to given to the land department and the person buying the sand will have one copy.