Kadapa: Sand trading is more profitable than gold business in Proddutur town, which is called the second Mumbai in the bullion market. A syndicate of sand smugglers are active and unmindful of the police and other departments. Since this illegal trade is lucrative for the mafia, they are in collusion with the police, politicians, revenue, mining and geology officers.
The second largest town in the district after Kadapa, apart from being famous for the bullion market, Proddatur is growing massively with new constructions. Sand has become very much precious here, because there is no near official reach to bring sand from. Although all officers know this, there is no action to provide a new sand reach nearer to the town in Penna river.
As a result, sand is mined from Penna and used for the constructions. Hundreds of vehicles carry sand that is mined from the river that smugglers sell at a high price.
There are three sand reaches allocated to Proddutur, and all are in Jammalamadugu mandal at Davagudi, Kanneluru and Sunnapurallapalle villages. Devagudi reach is about 6 kms away from Proddutur, the one in Kannelur village is about 15 kilometres away and Sunnapurallapalle is about 16 kms away. But because of political pressures, no one is allowed there and therefore mostly Proddutur depends on Penna river for its sand requirements.
While the aim of the state government is to supply sand free of cost to the needy people and political leaders are behind the smuggling and therefore officials are forced not to act against their activities.
While officers controlling sand mines should use the Global positioning system (GPS) in the vehicles used for sand transportation as a check but this is not being implemented.
The smugglers are mining sand in Penna river very close to Rameswaram head water works, which is the main water supply source to Proddutur. The smugglers start their operation early in the morning by 3 am and load the tractors and are dumping the sand in nearby brick industries which mostly depend on illegal mining, and the sand is supplied to customers from there. A railway bridge is also near the mining spot. Some pilot teams guide the tractors till they reach the destination.
The transportation is going on through Yerraguntla bypass circle to Jammalamadugu bypass road. There are hundreds of brick industries adjacent to the Penna river bund.
The sand is sold with a tractor for Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 as per the distance. It has become a big profitable business without any investment.
Of the three reaches, Devagudi and Sunnapurallapalle lease will be closed on July 21, 2019, while the Kanneluru lease will be valid upto December 13, 2019.
Speaking to this newspaper mining officials said, “There was no source to allot a quarry near Proddutur in Penna river. We are doing our level best to stop illegal mining in Penna.”
Kolli Srinivasa Rao, deputy superintendent of police, speaking with this newspaper, said , “We are making frequent visits to control the illegal mining they and forming joint teams with revenue and police for surprise checks. Sometimes we are filing 307 and 315 against the accused and send them to remand.”
But people say that without allocating a new reach, it is very difficult to stop illegal mining....