Sand smuggling impacts atmosphere

Rampant in the Noyyal has impacted the environment of the villages around immensely. The groundwater level has dipped and flooding happens every time it rains heavily. The farmers are the most affected and they have continuously petitioned the district collector regarding the issue.
Also, lack of stringent laws and inadequate manpower in government departments has dissuaded locals from filing cases. “The police can book these repeat offenders under Goondas Act which will deter the locals from indulging in the crime. But the police have also formed a nexus with them,” alleged K P , retired deputy director, agriculture department, and a farmer in Alandurai.

In Alandurai, eight bullock carts, six trucks, including four mini-trucks, and one have been seized in the past two years. But the extent of sand smuggling is much bigger. Every day, dozens of bullock carts, two wheelers, donkeys and even cars are deployed to transport the sand sacks to trucks. Every day, at least 100 tonnes of sand is smuggled.

Officials said this cannot be stopped without a dedicated team in place. “There is no doubt that local politicians, district administration officials and the police are aware of what is going on. Lack of intent and will to take action will lead to losing another river in the district. has already vanished. The Noyyal is on the brink of its death and if we continue to allow this, there will not be any river in the future,” said a farmer in Alandurai. He also alleged that the local men often bribed the policemen to smuggle sand.

Whenever the bullock carts or trucks are seized, politicians and sand truck owners come forward to pay the penalty. “The locals only struggle for a month. Again, after a few weeks, they start the same routine. We need the police officials to take stringent action against the smugglers and the district administration should enforce stricter norms,” said a local.

Unless villagers are sensitized about the various disadvantages of sand smuggling, this cannot be stopped, said Mahesh, a shopkeeper in Alandurai. “If there is a flood, this village will be worst affected,” he said.

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