Around 2,000 villagers on Sunday held a ‘rasta roko’ agitation on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad national highway to protest against Palghar district administration’s action of destroying boats parked along Vasai coast on the suspicion that they are being used for illegal sand mining. Traffic on the NH-8 was affected for over two hours in the morning due to the agitation in which villagers from Vaitarna, Khanivade and Khardi took part.
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Former MP Baliram Jadhav of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), who led the protest, said, “The district administration has started destroying boats parked along Vasai belt. The local villagers have already lost their livelihood due to the suspension of dredging activity. The boats were stationary and not caught while dredging and hence the action of the district administration is uncalled for.”
Palghar district authorities have been acting against the parked boats over the past few days on the suspicion that the local residents are using them for illegal sand mining.
“Due to this action, the local residents have been affected. Firstly, they lost their business and now they have also lost their boats,” he added. “If the administration wants to take any action, it should have at least issued notices to the villagers, but they went ahead with the destruction of boats without it,” Jadhav said.
During the protest, District Collector Abhijit Bangar and other officials held talks with local MLA Hitendra Thakur and it was decided that the action would be suspended for the time being and a meeting will be convened on Monday over the issue.