VIJAYAWADA: Environment clearance is compulsory to quarry sand from any riverbed, which has been conveniently ignored at Didugu upstream of Krishna river in Guntur district. The mafia used to quarry sand from Eturu side without any permission, by digging more than nine meters, which was not at all observed by Guntur district administration. Heavy machinery was used for quarrying and there are still some deep sand pits in the river stream area, which led to the boat mishap on Tuesday that claimed the lives of five students.
The mafia is reportedly close to a minister from Krishna district and hence the authorities were asked not to create any amenities there. In fact, this newspaper has reported about the same four days ago in these columns with a photograph by mafia for the purpose of illegally transporting sand. In fact it is the hotspot for sand mafia till recent past, from where `36 crore sand business transactions took place in a span of just four months.
The sand mafia reportedly approached an MLA and key officials in the district administration and urged them not to lay any pucca road connecting Eturu of Krishna district to Didugu, Munugodu and Malladi of Guntur district, as it would affect the mafia business, in the days to come. If one can look at the Krishna banks from Eturu to Kopuru stretch, one will easily understand as to how a causeway was developed by the sand mafia, only for transportation of illegal sand quarried from the River Krishna in the last two years. In fact, the mafia used to operate boats for transportation of sand in the early days.
Later the mafia itself has built a causeway, which could withstand the load of vehicles weighing more than 30 tonnes. The other side of River Krishna has two important villages in Guntur district, namely Didugu and Munugodu. The connectivity of road between two districts was possible only because of sand mafia, according to local residents of Didugu. Irony is that, having the stature of upstream ghat , Eturu-Didugu causeway was not developed by the Andhra Pradesh government....