MUMBAI: The Mandwa police and government officials raided an illegal sand mining site between Kihim and Awas beaches in Raigad district on Thursday and made the accused pay a fine of Rs60,000. Environmentalists, however, said that the culprits were back on the beach on Friday, taking away sand.
The move comes a week after HT had reported that beach mining had led to soil erosion and a drop of nearly 10 feet in the beach. Mumbai based NGO Awaaz Foundation had identified more than 15 trees that had been uprooted and 70% of the sand had decreased next to the creek between Kihim and Awas beaches through a complaint filed with the Raigad collector and Konkan divisional commissioner.
Officials from the Mandwa police said that they were asked by the local tehsildar to carry out the raid on Thursday. “When we reached the spot, we found close to 15 people carrying out the illegal activity. The circle officers fined the group and asked them not to return to the area,” said Yashwant Solse, senior inspector, Mandwa police station. “We are aware that the miners have returned and have already filed a complaint with the tehsildar. We will be carrying out another raid over the weekend.”
Awaaz Foundation filed another complaint on Friday with the Raigad collector. “The district authorities need to take long term action by investigating the entire chain of the sand mafia operating at the spot. This can only happen if a permanent guard is deployed there. The sand confiscated at the site also needs to be restored,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
Raigad collector Sheetal Ugale was not available for a comment.