Accusing senior bureaucrats of ignoring irregularities in auction of land for sand mining in Solapur district, activist Praful Kadam Thursday alleged that former Solapur Collector Tukaram Mundhe, now the Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner, may have condoned serious violations of norms, and his role should be probed. Mundhe was posted in Solapur during the auction of 19 plots for mining of sand.
Kadam said the auction was conducted in December 2015 even though Vatambare village’s gram sabha had opposed it. “Officers provided wrong information to the public. They said the auction was necessary to avoid sand robbery, but an RTI application revealed that there were no cases of sand robbery in the area,” Kadam said.
He said there was violation of environmental norms, state government policies on sand mining and flouting of general rules in the auction of these 19 plots. He added that amid public protests against the mining, reports regarding these violations were handed to Mundhe, then collector, by the tehsildar and by activists such as Kadam himself, but no action was taken.
“In March, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) advised that the contractors involved in the illegal activities be punished, but the Collector’s office took no notice of that either,” claimed Kadam.
In May, after Ranjit Kumar was posted as Collector, the violators were fined and their contracts cancelled, he said.
Mundhe, when contacted, called the allegations baseless. “These allegations had been raised a year ago. The state then sought a report on it, which said there was no violation. Also, these issues have been raised before the National Green Tribunal,” said Mundhe.