The shooting incident at Maad-Bansai in Curchorem, which led to the death of one labourer and left one critical, has yet again indicated that illegal sand mining activity is going on unabated in the State.
The South Goa police are tight-lipped about the investigation and are not revealing much fearing that those behind the incident may get away.
The incident has kept them on their toes. Special teams have been formed to investigate the murder which ostensibly is a fallout of the illegal sand extraction business.
When contacted, Curchorem Police Inspector (PI) Vaibhav Naik declined to reveal any details but stated that the Curchorem police are investigating the matter from all angles.
“I cannot reveal the line of investigation as it has to be kept a secret. We do not want the accused persons to be alert. We are expecting to nab the people behind this crime,” he said.
Reacting to the illegal sand extraction activities happening rampantly under the garb of darkness, Dr Vinod Dhargalkar, former National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) scientist, said the excessive illegal sand extraction from rivers will harm the aquatic ecosystem which indirectly affects humans.
Dr Dhargalkar stated that the illegal activity results in the collapse of river banks which leads to flooding.
He cited the example of the Colvale river, where in the past clamps were available in plenty. This is now a thing of the past due to excessive extraction of sand. “I feel only permissible quantity of sand extraction permitted by the government in certain areas should be allowed,” Dr Dhargalkar said.
Sources said illegal sand extraction has been taking place in Sanvordem-Curchorem's riverine areas. Motorised canoes are used to illegally extract sand from the Zuari river, especially during the wee hours.
They said recently there was a clash between two groups involved in sand extraction from the Bansai area.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said police have downloaded CCTV footage from a few houses in the Ghanemarad area which might prove vital in identifying the accused.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Amit Patkar, who hails from Curchorem, wondered how such illegalities can take place in the constituency of the Minister for Environment of Goa without his backing. “Law and order in Goa have totally collapsed,” he chided.
Goa Forward Party (GFP) spokesperson Durgadas Kamat shared Patkar's views and questioned whether the Prime Minister’s Office will intervene in the matter.