Udupi: Although it has been nine days since Udupi Deputy Commissioner, Priyanka Mary Francis and her team were attacked during an operation against illegal sand mining in Kundapur taluk on the night of April 2 , members of the sand mafia responsible have still not been rounded up, deplore environmental activists and BJP leaders here.
"It is true that some have been arrested by the police, but those who orchestrated the attack have still not been identified. Illegal sand mining continues even today in the neighbouring villages raided by the DC. She seized eight boats and several sand loads during the raid. But where are the owners of the boats and the contractors? The truth is that even the officials working under the DC have failed to support her," said National Environment Care Federation (NECF) state general secretary, Shashidhar Shetty, adding, "Our study reveals that on an average about Rs 1.70 crore worth of sand is illegally mined in Udupi district. When the mafia is so strong how many will join the Deputy Commissioner in her crusade against illegal sand mining?"
Mangaluru division in-charge of the BJP, Uday Kumar Shetty also demanded to know why only some labourers and villagers had been booked by the police for the attack on the DC. "What about the key persons? Mere labourers cannot have the guts to attack her. Who are the key persons behind it? Why the delay in taking action against them?" he asked.
Udupi SP, K T Balakrishna, when contacted, said of the arrested 23 only five were labourers and the rest were local villagers. Also, efforts were being made to identify the owners of the boats and the contractors of the sand seized by the DC, he added.