The death of a labourer and injury to another at Bansai, Curchorem, has not just exposed how dependents on this trade have retorted to breaking the ban on sand mining imposed by the High Court to earn their living but how law enforcers choose to play blind. Because, when money is scarce, no ban matters.
With the inter-gang rivalry between sand miners in the open, the police in a knee-jerk reaction have turned proactive and are zeroing on the enmity between rival gangs of sand extractors working in the area.
Sand mining, according to Gomantak Times investigation, is going on in Zuari river in Curchorem, Xeldem and Sanvordem. Looking back, villagers in these areas were dependent on mining and thus earned handsomely when the activity was at its peak.
Post the closure of the activity, people started struggling for survival and that is how many jumped into illegalities. According to sources in the area, there are three groups involved in illegal sand extraction. Of these three, one is allegedly called the Adel group and another is operating from the Ganemorod-Xeldem side of the river.
Sources claim that there has been hostility between these groups because of business in the recent past. Each group is allegedly trying to have an upper hand giving it the form of “turf fight”.
In the month of January, this year, there was an attack on a manual labourer of Adel group who survived a gunshot. However, the incident was hushed as a battery explosion.
Few days later, there was another attack on a youth from Cacora with a shovel. On both occasions, the local police did not pay heed and this many believe could have eventually aggravated the situation.
On Thursday evening, police apprehended five persons from the Adel group- Vivek Naik, Amey Adel, Vijay Adel, Yogesh Adel and Ramdas Adel. They were later produced before Court in Quepem seeking 5 days police custody but were bailed out with personal surety bond of Rs 10,000.
As per internal sources, Goa Inspector General of Police (IGP) Omvir Singh Bishnoi was at the Curchoem police station monitoring the arrests and it was he who instructed to take the five accused to the Sanguem IRB camp for interrogation.
Efforts were made to contact Bishnoi to get more insight but his mobile phone was not reachable.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant held a special meeting at his official residence in Panaji on Friday with several top brass government officers and police personnel present. During this meeting ways were discussed to legalise sand extraction and laterite mining in a regulated manner.
CM Sawant is also said to have pointed out the negligence on the part of the police that led to the death of one labourer. This meeting lasted for almost three hours, according to sources in the know.
PI Vaibhav Naik when contacted stated that the investigation is in progress and the culprit would be nabbed soon.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed” this saying aptly fits the incident in Bansai-Curchorem which took a life of an innocent manual labourer who had crossed into the state to earn his living. But this coming to Goa made him leave this world. Search for survival can have strange endings.