Fed up over the administration’s failure to take action against illegal sand mining operators despite repeated complaints, residents of Rakar-Sayohali village have now raised funds from voluntary donations to convert the area into an open ground by filling it with soil and stones in a bid to put a halt to the activities.
They have also planted trees along the riverbed and corners of the ground to prevent encroachment in the future.
After filing several complaints with the police and administration in vain the villagers decided to take action collectively to end illegal mining on government land adjoining the Suketi, a tributary of the Beas river.
They said the operators dug more than 20 feet deep at several places in search of sand, posing a serious threat of erosion of adjoining land in addition to causing damage to adjoining houses and agriculture fields.
Alam Ra, head of the Dadaur gram panchayat, said: “With no response to our repeated complaints there was no option left for us but to fill the land with soil and stones to convert the area into an open field for sports or cultural activities. At least now the area is free from air and noise pollution and houses and agricultural lands adjoining the Suketi river are safe. We now also have an open space to organise sports or or local fairs."
Ram said residents of nearby gram panchayats as well as the police had appreciated their efforts to stop illegal mining activities without engaging in any confrontation with the mining mafia.