IN the latest action against the sand mafia in Bhima river basin, the Pune Rural Police and Pune district administration seized and destroyed 10 boats used for illegal sand mining from Ghod river, a tributary of Bhima river.
Daund, Shirur and Indapur talukas of Pune district have numerous illegal sand mining rackets in operation, especially in the Bhima basin riverbeds, according to police.
These riverbeds are known for good quality sand, which is always in very high demand in construction — both in non-government construction projects and government-initiated infrastructure projects. Over the last several months, the Pune district administration, police, forest department and other agencies have launched a coordinated crackdown against these gangs.
Working on a tip-off from an informant, a joint team led by Inspector Sureshkumar Raut of Shirur police station and tehsildar Laila Shaikh seized 10 boats used by the sand mafia and were destroyed them on Friday and Saturday.
The action was taken at a location near Shindodi village. Police have launched a search for the suspects operating these boats.
Investigations have revealed that illegal sand excavation rackets have multiple criminal activities associated with them from excavation of sand from river beds using boats to illegal transport in trucks and their sale. There are criminal elements involved in each activity and many are known to carry illegal firearms, according to police.
In the first week of October last year, a meeting was held where officials from Pune district administration, Pune rural police, Regional Transport Office (RTO), forest department and district mining officials were present. A coordinated approach to crack down on illegal sand mining was discussed and has since been executed. Many of the areas where sand mining is being done are forest areas and rampant sand excavation of sand has adversely affected the ecosystem.