In Thane reserved forest, three arrested for sand mining
The Maharashtra forest department arrested three people for illegal sand mining inside a reserved forest, near Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, in Thane district on Monday.
In a seven-hour operation, a team of 15 forest officers from Shahpur division nabbed Gurunath Vagh, 32; Khandu Vagh, 23; and Dnyaneshwar Mukane, 26, from Khardi territorial forest zone. The officers seized three tractors and 2.5 brass sand (approximately 10,000 kg) during the operation.
“This is a large seizure from a territorial reserved forest zone where sand mining is completely prohibited,” said Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer, Khardi. “While the confiscated sand is worth ₹20,000, the tractors are worth ₹2.5 lakh.”
The arrested are in the forest department’s custody and will be presented before a district court on Wednesday. “All three accused are locals from nearby villages who are trying to make money by supplying sand for construction purposes in nearby cities,” said Deshmukh.
Several Supreme Court, Bombay high court orders and the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification make it clear that sand mining using machines is prohibited across the country