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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Sand mafia has the way in Noida

Vinod Rajput, Hindustan Times  Noida, July 28, 2013
First Published: 22:15 IST(28/7/2013) | Last Updated: 03:21 IST(29/7/2013)

Many real estate projects in Noida, Greater Noida and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh have a dark secret underneath —  a nexus between mining mafia and politicians of the ruling Samajwadi Party.

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Builders and mining contractors say they are forced to pay Rs. 5 lakh per acre to the handlers of this racket to begin digging work at any project site. Also, realtors have to assign mining work to the contractors chosen by the mafia.

With the rapid pace of infrastructure development in the region, mining has emerged as a lucrative business due to the need of construction work at the basement of high-rise buildings.

On an average, a realtor pays Rs. 4-5 crore to a contractor for carrying out mining on a 25-acre land. Besides, the entire region has become a safe haven for sand mafia due to rampant illegal mining activities along the floodplains of the Yamuna and Hindon rivers.

A large number of people involved in digging work at construction sites say that the state government is perpetrating the nexus.

“Without paying money to the syndicate, no realtor or mining contractor can start digging at a plot. Once you give the protection money, your dumper or tractor can easily carry sand out of Gautam Budh Nagar district to Delhi and other nearby towns. Else, even the police or district administration will be disturbing your business,” said a leading realtor, requesting anonymity.

Sources say that the nexus had been active even during the previous government led by Mayawati. Earlier, the syndicate was operated by a realtor. “With the change of guard at Lucknow, the new patron of this racket is a Delhi-based senior Samajwadi Party leader,” a source said.

According to developers, people from top to bottom have been involved in the nexus and they often put pressure on builders to give mining contract to SP supporters.

“Some close aides of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav stay in touch with their agents in each district. They put pressure on Noida, Greater Noida builders to give mining contract to their supporters as it involves huge money,” said a realtor. Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate Ravikant Singh refused to comment on the issue.

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