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Sand mafia rule the roost in North Kerala

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 16:00

KOZHIKODE: The thriving sand mafia, based at Kasargode is extending its long tentacles to the entire northern Kerala to establish a parallel governance there. The roots of the mafia can be traced to the illegal transport of sand from Mangalore for the last many years.

Despite Karnataka banning the inter-state transportation of sand in 2010, it is flooding northern Kerala through illegal routes, duping checkpost personnel, bribing them and using muscle power whenever necessary. Around 40 trucks cross the Talapady border daily.

The price of Karnataka sand in Kerala is up to an exorbitant Rs 80,000 to Rs 1,00,000 per load, which consists of 28 tonnes. A couple of years ago, the sand from Nethravati river in Mangalore had even reached Kochi, sneaking through half a dozen checkposts.

After officials swung into action, the river sand started coming here disguised as silica sand. As silica sand is a raw material for manufacturing glass, tile etc, it can be transported. But rarely did any official attempt to inspect the veracity of their claims.    

Mangalore (Dakshina Kannada) Deputy Commissioner, A.B. Ibrahim said there were 50 short-cut routes to Kerala from Karnataka, through which the sand was being illegally transported.

Home Minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan had told the Assembly that in Kasargode, the money out of this illegal sand transportation was being used to foment communal trouble.

The umpteen life threatening attempts against police officials stand testimony to the audacity of the sand mafia.

In June, the mafia tried to run a lorry over Kasargode ASP trainee, J.Himendranath at Badiyadukka. In Bedakam, Thalassery, Valapattanam limits, police officers, who were instrumental in zeroing in on the powerful lobby, were hacked brutally.

Former Kozhikode District Collector, K.V. Mohan Kumar was also assaulted for confronting them.

Kasargode DySP T.P. Ranjith said that in Kasargode alone, there were 24 cases against the mafia for attempting to murder police personnel and revenue and mining and geology officials.

Recently, the mafia started using fake passes of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra governments for transporting sand from Karnataka.

“This itself proves that the mafia has deep-rooted inter-state connections”, he added.