Sand extraction at St Estevam raises the ire of villagers

Mapusa: The locals of St Estevam fear ecological impact due to the alleged illegal sand extraction being carried out, which they say may lead to a natural disaster. They opine that excess extraction of sand could also adversely affect the normal course of the river and lead to river erosion.
The ecology and marine biodiversity of St. Estevam is facing a serious threat to the residents of the island as the recent floods have proved given the extent of the damage caused to the coastal embankment. The alleged illegal sand mining has also contributed to this damage and to the crops of farmers too.

The locals of St. Estevam have decided to form night vigil teams to keep a check on the alleged illegal mining and requested the police officials to hold night patrolling to prevent the illegal sand mining that is causing serious land erosion. A local and President of the Farmers Club of St. Estevam, Nestor Rangel told HERALD that despite sand extraction being banned, it is extracted at night in the village.

“Due to the heavy vehicles plying with the sand, huge cracks have developed on that main road. We will be giving a written complaint copy to the joint mamlatdar on Wednesday requesting for a CCTV camera to be set up at the spot where sand is being extracted,” said Rangel.

One can recall that last month, the principal bench of NGT had ordered forfeitures of Rs. 20 lakhs deposited by Goa government for failing to install CCTV cameras to keep a tab on the alleged illegal sand mining in the state.

While a local pointed out that they are not against sand extraction but it should be done under permissible limits.“If sand continues to be extracted then not only us but also our future generation will suffer. This sand is being extracted illegally and during the late nights. If sand continues to be extracted rampantly it won’t be late that the river bed will collapse,” she said.

It may be recalled that late Fr. Bismarque Dias has valiantly fought against the sand mafia and put a stop to the alleged illegal sand extraction in St. Estevam. [H]