PERNEM: Uguem villagers threatened to block the National Highway 66 at Uguem if the government failed to stop the illegal sand extraction activity in the jurisdiction of Tamboxem-Mopa-Uguem Village Panchayat.
On Monday, a delegation of farmers submitted a memorandum at Pernem Police Station demanding action against illegal sand mining activities in Uguem village. This is the second memorandum that the farmers have submitted within a week, wherein they have highlighted that even after giving live proof of sand extraction activities in Tiracol River, the police failed to act.
A villager Uday Mahale said, “Similar to last week, on Sunday night again, we noticed 22 canoes carrying extracted sand. We immediately informed the Costal Police about it. Acting on the same, the Coastal Police rushed to the site. However, they came by road instead of coming by boat due to which they were unable to act or seized the canoes with sand.”
“On April 19, court hearing is scheduled in this matter and based on the court order, further decision will be taken, which can even be blocking of National Highway 66 at Uguem, if the concerned authorities fail to stop the illegal activities,” Mahale said.
The locals also said that they are not against sand mining in Tiracol River but only pertaining to the river stretch right from Railway Bridge to Uguem.
“We are not against sand mining but concerned about this particular stretch since due to continuous sand mining for the last 25 years, the Uguem villagers are getting affected badly as their agriculture land gets submerged in river water. While increase in depth of the river, it is posing danger to the railway bridge at Porascadem,” Narayan Mahale said.
Swapnil Sherlekar of Goencho Awaz, who was also present with the farmers while submitting the memorandum said, “The matter is in the court. So when the court asks for statement from the concerned department officials they show ignorance about sand extraction activities. Due to this, last month, on March 17, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) had issued a standing order to the police that as soon as the police receive a complaint, they should act. In one week, two such incidents are bought before the office of Pernem Police Station.”
“Time and again we have asked for patrolling in the river because if the police show their presence in the river with a boat, then these activities will be stopped. We will produce these two letters in the court. We expect that an action will be initiated in this matter,” Sherlekar said.