Palakkad: The sand mafia is back with a bang to destroy the rivers where huge quantities of sand have been deposited in the recent floods. Illegal mining has begun in right earnest in all the major rivers in the district like Bharat-hapuzha, Gayatri, Kunthi and Kalpathi by building contractors and the mafia with the aid of local people. Though the state government has spoken of building a new Kerala by protecting the environment, the sand mafia is least bothered.
All the rivers in the district have received a new lease of life, including the Bharathapuzha, as its basins and the banks are now filled with sand deposits. “These sand deposits are crucial for the rivers as these have replaced the mud and the gravel formed on the river bed due to relentless illegal sand mining in the past three decades. The river without sand will be void of its natural features as shrubs and trees will grow on the river bed creating thickets which disturb the flow of water during the monsoon,” said Boban Mattumantha, chairman of Paristhithi Aikyavedi, a combination of different environmental groups.
At present, trolleys are used to make piles of sand and it is filled in sacks and smuggled in trucks at night from the river banks, he said.
Superintendent of police, Debeshkumar Behera, told DC that police patrolling was in place at places like Shornur, Ottapalam, Pattambi, Chalissery and Koppam even before the floods.
He said that after the floods, he was not aware of any fresh reports of seizure of illegally mined sand in these areas....