A village revenue officer (VRO) narrowly escaped being buried alive by members of sand mafia in Krishna district on Sunday evening.
G Venkat Ramana,VRO of Majeru village in Challapalli Mandal,had gone to the outskirts of the village to check after he received a tip-off that sand was being illegally lifted and transported in tractors from a river bank. Ramana also received a call from Challapalli mandal tehsildhar Sudha Rani,who told him that she received reports of illegal sand mining in the area.
When the VRO reached Nadakuruduru,he spotted a sand-laden tractor and signalled it to stop but the driver ignored him and sped away. When he failed to stop another tractor also,the VRO gave it a chase on his motorcycle.
After chasing for 15-20 minutes,the tractors driver suddenly stopped the vehicle in the middle of the road near Nimmagadda village and as the VRO neared it from behind,the driver lifted the hydraulic wagon dumping the load of sand at once,narrowly missing the revenue officer.
According to Challapalli Circle Inspector Bala Raju,although shaken,when Ramana tried to stop the tractor again,the driver tried to sideswipe his motorcycle. Ramana fell from his bike and the tractor driver lost control of the vehicle and ended up in the roadside canal. The driver fled from the spot. We are trying to trace the driver as well as drivers of other tractors who were transporting the sand, Raju said.
Challapalli tehsildar Sudha Rani lodged an attempt to murder complaint with the police.
A similar complaint was lodged last week by another tehsildar after members of the sand mafia attacked him.
Sundays incident is one of the more than 100 complaints received by the police and the mining department from officials involved in checking and preventing illegal sand mining regarding attempt to murder,threats and intimidation by the sand mafia.
Most of the complaints have been received from coastal districts,Mahbubnagar,Adilabad and Karimanagar in Telangana and Kurnool district in Rayalaseema.
Minister for Mines and Geology G Aruna Kumari said a shortfall in supply of sand to the construction industry had given rise to illegal mining controlled by anti-social elements.
The government is taking steps to give mining rights in stretches where we have environmental clearances, Kumari said.