A forest guard was crushed to death in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday while chasing illegal sand miners when a tractor-trolley loaded with the loot fell on him.
Police said 41-year-old Narendra Kumar Sharma was part of a team set up to control unlawful sand mining along the Chambal river. He jumped on to the trolley that was trying to flee from a checkpoint, but was killed when the vehicle toppled.
Sand is precious to the real estate industry and the mafia is known to ravage riverbeds and land to dredge up tonnes of earth and sell it at steep discounts to builders, shaving lakhs of rupees off construction costs.
Officials said Sunday’s incident brought back memories from March 2012 when a young IPS officer, also named Narendra Kumar, was crushed to death in a similar way in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district.
Despite a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order three years ago restraining all sand mining activities without environmental clearance, illegal quarrying continues unabated along rivers with mighty water bodies like the Ganga and Yamuna dying a slow death.
Gwalior SP HN Mishra said tractor driver Lalla Mawai was arrested and the vehicle seized.
The region’s chief conservator of forests (CCF) Rajesh Kumar said it appeared to be a case of murder.
He said authorities have seized dozens of vehicles ferrying sand illegally and recovered crores of rupees by auctioning them.
The state government announced `5 lakh as compensation, apart from a job in the forest department, for the deceased’s next of kin, he added.