Sand mining mafia adopts new tactics: Kozhikode, Kerala.

Illegal sand miners thrive in the rural areas of the district despite steps taken by the revenue department following the recent attack on the district collector by the sand mafia. According to officials, the sand mafia has shifted their centres of operations from kadavu to houses to hoodwink the officials who have intensified raids at kadavu and river basins.

The gangs operating in the interior areas of Vadakara and Koyilandy illegally preserve sand near the premises of houses. “Revenue officials and police often fail to notice the trade as the mafia members choose houses in interior villages and panchayats,” said officials with the Vadakara taluk office.

Members of the mafia store sand either on the premises of their houses or in the houses of natives after convincing them that they possess licence to sell and preserve sand.

Illegally preserved sand is usually sold out at excess price to buyers from Kannur, sources said. Most of the illegal sand sellers concentrate on the boarders of Kozhikode and Kannur as they can easily transport the sand to Panoor, Koothuparamba and other regions of Kannur through rural roads, said the sources.

Meanwhile, officials with the Vadakara taluk office have started a special drive to nab those engaged in house-based illegal sand trade. A team of revenue officials led by Vadakara tahsildar T Janilkumar seized several loads of sand stored near the house of Cherupoyil Sreedharan, a resident of Kayappanachi, near Nadapuram on Tuesday.

The officials auctioned the sand for over Rs 1 lakh. A couple of weeks ago, the officials had recovered two loads of sand, illegally stored in the region. The sand was auctioned for Rs 20,000.

In the wake of recent incidents, we have decided to intensify raids in the villages bordering Kannur district, said revenue officials.

Source: THE TIMES OF INDIA

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