Margherita, May 22: A former daily wage worker is the head of a sand mafia thriving in Margherita, allegedly with the blessings of the senior forest officials in the area.
The racketeer, backed by some local youths of Margherita, is regularly extracting sand and silt from the Dehing River illegally. He throws some bones to a section of forest officials as ‘commission’ which is paid on per truck basis.
The mafia reported earns Rs 1000 to Rs 1200 from each Tata DI of sand sold and Rs 2000 to Rs 2400 per truck.
The areas where illegal sand and silt extraction is rampant are 1 No Lazum, Garumara Pool, Tarakuchi, Alubari, Hill View Forest Gate.
The Supreme Court of India has banned extraction of sand and silt from the rivers, but the Forest department has been turning a blind eye to the illegal activities being carried out by such gangs in the Dehing river.
People have also questioned the silence of the Forest Range Officer of Margherita Padum Borpatragohain and Divisiol Forest Officer Ranjan Kumar Das.
There are allegations of an unholy nexus between the sand mafia and some senior forest officials.
The mece has posed a threat to the river. Some say that the illegal activities might increase the intensity of flood and erosion in the ensuing monsoons.