CHITTOOR: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders illegal mining mafia continue to plague the State and now the latest is the red mud mining which has been rampant at Chandragiri in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
It may be recollected that the TDP regime had come out with a programme titled Mana Neeru-Mana Matti Under this scheme they had indulged in illegally occupying lakes and small ponds and were illegally shipping the fertile mud from them to other places for high prices. This form of exploitation of the state minerals come to an end after the YSR Congress Party came into power in 2019 and a new sand mining policy was drafted putting checks in place. However, a few leaders were continuing these irregularities which had come under the governments’ lens.
As per reports, the Pathigutta area is spread over 530 acres in Chandragiri under Survey No. 1479. Due to the presence of mineral-rich red clay in this land, the TDP local leaders were illegally digging the mud and ferrying them in tractors for the past 10 days.
Apparently, the soil was being sold at Rs 800 per tractor load. Locals allege that TDP activists, especially from Chandragiri's old town area have formed a mud mafia and are digging away the mud mounds. The mud is being sold to builders who are using it for the construction of houses in Bharathinagar, MG Brothers plots, Reddy Veedhi, and other areas. In addition, they have entered into agreements with brick kiln operators and supplying the mud to them.
The apathy by the Revenue officials has drawn criticism from the locals who say that they have turned a blind eye to the soil smuggling. They are questioning as to why no action has been taken by Revenue staff, even as they continue to illegally smuggle mud from one acre of land for the past ten days. Another irregularity that came to the fore was that about the tractors used for ferrying the soil.
It seems that they were using tractors which were provided by the State government under a subsidy meant for the farmers. Generally, these tractors should be used only for agricultural work. The use of tractors for such illegal activities would be equivalent to defrauding the government and it is reported that more than 10 whiteboard (subsidized tractors) vehicles are being used for this purpose.
On Sunday, Tahsildar Chinna Venkateshwarlu along with his staff inspected the sand mounds in the area under Survey No 1479 after receiving complaints. He said that strict action would be taken to identify the culprits and warned that criminal cases would be registered against anyone who trespassed on government lands. He was accompanied by RI Mohan Reddy, VROs Nagraj and Ashok Kumar.
Also Read: Sand Mafia, Corruption Hallmarks of TDP Regime: Anakapalle MLA Gudivada Amarnath