All VAOs empowered to stop, inspect vehicles suspected to smuggle sand
In response to complaints of illegal sand smuggling in Tiruchuli taluk, the revenue officials, in coordination with the police, Public Works Department, have charted an elaborate arrangement to prevent the crime.
“All the Village Administrative Officers in the taluk have been empowered to stop and inspect any vehicle suspected to be smuggling minerals,” said Tiruchuli Tahsildar, C. Ravichandran.
Revenue inspectors have been instructed to keep vigil against sand mining on Gundar and Kiruthumal rivers and Kanalodai and Uppodai.
The tahsilar convened the taluk-level task force committee and sand co-ordination meetings at his office on Tuesday in which officials from the PWD, police inspectors and BDOs of Tiruchuli and Narikudi, inspector of mines, and all revenue inspectors and VAOs took part.
An official said lack of coordination between the officials of different departments led to misunderstanding.
“Many a time there were complaints that VAOs were not cooperating with the police and vice-versa in preventing sand smuggling,” the official said.
However, at this meeting a close coordination between the two departments was insisted.
Some of the officials complained that the sand smugglers were using different strategies to divert the attention of the officials.
Often, the earth movers are taken into riverbeds in the guise of removing trees on patta land or some other work. These earth movers would then pile up the collected sand and vanish.
In the nights, they would quickly load the collected sand in the trucks.
“The trucks do not directly go to the customer’s place. The loads of sand are illegally stored in some hideouts. When we move towards the riverbed to check mining, the trucks move the sand through some other routes,” another official said.
The movement of the revenue officials are tipped off to the earth movers and trucks involved in mining or loading by various persons appointed to keep a tab on their movement.
The officials have now planned to identify the illegal sand stocking points and to seize the minerals.
Action against bike riders
“We have asked our men to identify the “bike riders” who alert the sand smugglers about our movement. We will seize their vehicles also as a preventive step,” Mr. Ravichandran, said.
As a preventive measure, PWD officials have been asked to dig up trenches on the routes that lead to irrigation tanks and riverbeds.
BDOs have been asked to provide the mining orders under Kudimaramathu schemes being implemented in select tanks to prevent irregularities by the miners.
Night patrolling in villages identified as vulnerable to sand smuggling has been intensified.
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