The Mines and Mineral Department officials of Valsad on Saturday carried out raids at Valsad Nagar Palika-run water works and found that illegal sand mining activities were going on there.
Acting on a tip-off, the officials raided the waterworks and found that sand-mining activities were in progress near the dam built on Auranga river.
The officials demanded documents from a person present at the spot, Kalidas Mangela, who failed to submit the necessary papers following which they seized six pipes, two boats, and other equipment, all worth Rs 3 lakh. Kalidas in his statements confessed that sand mining work was in progress since the last ten days and the sand taken out from the dam has been sold in the market, officials said.
Sources said that Valsad Nagar Palika had given contract to a private agency a few days ago to carry out cleaning work of the dam and water works so that the water-carrying capacity of the dam increases.
Mines and Mineral Department official of Valsad Dharmesh Patel said: “Kalidas admitted to sand mining activities being carried out at the water works. For carrying out sand mining, permission from Mines and Mineral Department is necessary.”
Talking to The Sunday Express, Valsad Nagar Palika Chief Officer J U Vasava said: “A private agency was given the contract to carry out desilting activities in the dam. The purpose of doing desilting is to increase the water carrying capacity of the dam. We have also come to notice that such raids were conducted by Mines and Mineral Department officials. We will check and find out whether the agency is involved in selling the sand to open market and if found we will terminate their contract and take strict action.”