Even as several cases of illegal sand ferrying has come to light in the district, the district administration, which has decentralised the sand-mining department, is unable to furnish figures.
A Right to Information (RTI) application filed by The Indian Express on cases of illegal mining and ferrying of sand shows most talukas not having the figures, and others having no cases at all.
While officials at Indapur, Baramati, Daund and Shirur have stated there are no such cases, only Junnar officials have given details of cases.
Officials at the main office maintain that they do not have any consolidated figures and only if the taluka branch offices give details would they be able to furnish any figures.
“The process is decentralised. We do not have any such figures at all. If the office gives us an update, we record it in the main office,’’ said sand mining officials from the district administration. A few days ago, revenue officials from the district collectorate, impounded 40 trucks for transporting sand from Ghod and Bhima river basins in Shirur taluka, and a similar drive was recently carried out in Mulshi taluka.
“We are carrying out drives and are seizing material. There are plenty of cases... It is time these get reported,’’ said Maval Sub Divisional Officer Sanjay Patil who recently conducted a drive.
Senior officials from other talukas said they lack the adequate machinery to carry out the drive. “We do not have the requisite staff,’’ said another official. The recent drive at Shirur saw a team of 20 operate with the help of police to impound the vehicles.
Another official said that the sand mafia is very pronounced in Daund, Indapur, Shirur and Baramati areas. “One has to be careful while carrying out the drives and offences should be registered against the main persons and not the drivers,’’ said the official who recently carried out a drive, which, however, failed as the information was allegedly leaked.
As per estimates, about 7,000 trucks are involved in transport of sand to sites in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The trucks carry more than stipulated quota of sand, which may lead to illegal sale of sand and evasion of royalty, officials said. After last week’s drive in Mulshi, royalty is being paid to the administration.
The administration had readied a dedicated software at toll booths on the Solapur, Ahmednagar and Satara roads, and is trying to monitor sand transport round-the-clock. The administration has provided laptops and scanners at toll booths to detect fake or unauthorised transport passes/receipts, often used by truck drivers to transport sand illegally.
To check illegal sand transport, the government had planned a bar-coding system. The toll receipt was to have a barcode number (printed) to help calculate number of times a particular truck passes the toll plaza and how much sand it is allowed to carry. However, this is confined to paper.