Opposition members stall Odisha Assembly over illegal sand mining

Bhubaneswar: Members of Opposition BJP and Congress today stalled the Budget Session of Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) by creating a ruckus demanding introduction of a policy to curb illegal sand mining in the state.

Protesting over the issue in the House, legislators of both the parties alleged that tonnes of sand are being smuggled to other states in the absence of a policy in the state.

Congress senior leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “In rural areas, poor people are paying hefty amount of fine for loading sand in tractors.  But no action is being taken against sand Mafia. The Government is losing Rs 14,000 crore revenue per annum due to illegal sand mining.”

In a written reply to a question raised by BJP’s Mohan Majhi, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi said the draft of Odisha Sand Policy is in its final stage.

“On April 11, 2018, the decision for implementation of the police was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the then Chief Secretary. However, the process has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

On illegal sand mining, the Minister informed that 144 Tehsils in the state have been identified as sensitive areas. Special squads consisting of officials, including RIs and Amins have been formed in those areas to keep a check on the illegal activities, he added.

 

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