Villagers Attempt To Gherao District Collector Against Sand Mining In Odisha’s Rayagada

Rayagada: Palpable tension prevailed at the office of deputy collector in Gunupur of Odisha’s Reyagada district on Tuesday as villagers attempted to gherao the collector in protest against sand mining.

According to sources, the people of Kuturu village under Gunupur Municipality in the district have been opposing sand mining on river bed of Bansadhara that is flowing close to the area since long. They have been maintaining that due to the sand mining, the river is likely to change its course and devour their village.

On Monday, when the lease holders went to Bansadhara with trucks and tractors to lift sand, the villagers opposed them and did not allow to sand to be lifted. On being informed, the officials from the sub-division office went to the spot and pacified the villagers by advising them to take up the matter with district administration.

The villagers in large number including women and old people went to put forth their issues during the hearing at pubic grievance cell of the district collector at deputy collector’s office in Gunupur. When district collector Swadha Dev Singh came to the office, the villagers tried to present their problem on the way.

As the villagers rushed to the collector at a time and tried to gherao her, the police had to use force to disperse them, leading to an unpleasant situation. Tension prevailed in the area for some time as the villages were engaged in a tussle with the police personnel.

However, nobody was injured in the incident and the collector went to attend the hearing. Later, the villagers staged a dharna in front of the office to raise their demand.

Speaking to media persons, Singh said all necessary official procedures were followed in sanctioning lease for sand mining in Bansadhara. She also refuted the allegation that sand mafia was active in the area.

“We were scheduled to hear individual petitions of the people today. Since the villagers have some problems regarding sand mining, we have clubbed those matters and would take it up soon,” she said.

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