The Uttar Pradesh police on Saturday conducted search operations to arrest sand contractor Dinesh Tyagi, who is accused of building an illegal bridge across the Yamuna in Noida.
Tyagi’s work on another bridge across the Yamuna in Faridabad jurisdiction is still underway and Haryana authorities are yet to take action. A police party went to Tyagi’s Faridabad residence but he was not there.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to catch Dinesh Tyagi. Our teams are conducting search operations at many places. We cannot disclose our detailed strategy but we anticipate his arrest very soon,” said Kiran Sivakumar, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Since the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration lodged an FIR on Wednesday night, Tyagi’s phone has been switched off. “UP authorities and police are unnecessarily harassing him,” said Rahul Tyagi, Dinesh’s nephew.
Employees of Dinesh Tyagi at the Noida sites said they had planned to transport sand from Faridabad to Noida, where there is more demand. Tyagi recently obtained a sand mining licence from the Haryana mining department. “We have paid around `100 crore for 108 digging sites for one year. And this is the best season to do business. We will sell sand to anyone who comes to us. If a vehicle laden with sand wants to enter Noida from Faridabad using the bridge that is under construction, we are not going to stop it,” said an employee at Tyagi’s site.
Around 10 labourers with trucks and excavators on the Faridabad side were busy mining for sand in the mainstream of the Yamuna. However, the Haryana irrigation department officials said they were kept in dark about the mining contracts issued to Tyagi.
“The irrigation department should be consulted before awarding mining contracts on the Yamuna floodplains to anyone. The mining department is issuing licences to mine sand anywhere without conducting surveys. If this continues unchecked, Yamuna’s ecology will be damaged,” said Sandip Taneja, superintending engineer, Haryana irrigation department.
Taneja said the Haryana government needs to revise its policy of awarding mining contracts as contractors dig the floodplains in a careless manner thereby affecting the ecosystem of the Yamuna.
Apart from sand mining, unabated sale of farmhouse plots in both Noida and Faridabad have caused severe damage to the flora and fauna of the floodplains.
Authorities, however, are unable to take any action against farmhouses until the National Green Tribunal gives its final verdict in this regard.