The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sand mafia rule Kharkai riverbanks
- Adityapur Municipal Council bleeds as transporters evade tax

Jamshedpur, April 28: On the banks of Kharkai, a row of trucks wait for their turn to get loaded. Sand is what they carry. Sometimes the consignment is authorised, but more often it’s illegal.

The Adityapur Municipal Council (AMC) had authorised sand lifting in five of the seven ghats of the river last July. But despite that, the remaining two embankments — Ghat No. 1 and Majhitola Ghat — witness rampant lifting of sand illegally.

The sand mafia carry out their operation right under the AMC’s nose and all that the civic body has done so far is lodge occasional complaints. On an average, 200 trucks queue up on the two ghats. The number is more compared to the other five ghats, where transporters have to shell out Rs 300 as tax to the AMC, which is losing a daily revenue of a few thousand rupees.

Residents squarely blame the civic body for illegal sand-lifting. “Despite repeated complaints, the AMC did not file FIRs against unauthorised sand-lifters. They are satisfied with lodging a diary at Adityapur police station,” said Sudhir Nayak, a resident.

Sources said the ghats we-re auctioned in July 2008. The average cost of auctioning was Rs 1 lakh, but those of Ghat No. 1 and Majhitola Ghat were Rs 33 lakh and 28 lakh, respectively, because of their huge sand deposits.

Bhabnath Mandal, the executive officer of AMC, admitted that the ghats were under the council’s jurisdiction, but said the complaints were baseless. “Illegal sand-lifting has long stopped along the Kharkai,” he said.

Mandal, however, declined to comment why no FIR had ever been lodged against illegal lifting of sand.

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