Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara : Police, on the direction of Bhojpur SP Har Kishore Rai, in a drive against the illegal sand mining near Abdul Bari Bridge at Koelwar, around midnight on September 16, 2020, and arrested 72 persons belonging to Bhojpur, Patna, and Saran districts, involved in illegal sand mining and seized 5 boats. An FIR has also been lodged by Koelwar police station in this connection on the statement of a Mines & Geology Department official.

SP Har Kishore Rai said that police have launched the drive against illegal sand mining and sand mafias and arrested at least 13 sand mafias and seized 38 vehicles and damaged about half a dozen poclain machines five days ago. He said that police are patrolling in the area round the clock to keep a close watch on the activities of sand mafias.

The SP said that a special team of the Mines department comprising Joint director Pramod Kumar and police force cordoned off the areas along river Sone from Jamalpur to Koelwar and Dhandiha under Koelwar police station and conducted raids for several hours and arrested 72 persons involved in illegal sand mining and seized 5 boats.

The ban on digging of sand in  river Sone, the sand mafias are still quite active and continue illegal sand mining near Abdul Bari Bridge in river Sone between Koelwar in Bhojpur district and Pareu in Patna district bordering Bhojpur and Saran districts. Hundreds of trucks and tractors loaded with illegal sand can be spotted plying on roads since midnight to about 6am almost daily. It may be mentioned here that the NGT has banned sand digging in the river Sone since July 2020 but the sand mafias continue illegal sand digging allegedly in connivance of police. Over 700 boats are involved in digging sand in river Sone and carried to Uttar Pradesh via river Ganga and Ghaghra. Each boat has at least 15 feet sand worth about Rs. 50,000 and the sand mafias are doing a business of about Rs 6 crore daily.

The boats are unloaded at 10 ghats of Ganga and Ghaghra via two routes. The boats ferry in Doriganj in Saran in river Ghaghra and unloaded at Chanddiara, Baiju Tola and Sitabdiara ghats of Uttar Pradesh. The boats also ferry in Ganga river and unload sand at  Devaria, Tukati, Lalganj, and Ramgarh ghats. The sand is carried on trucks to its destination.