In an exemplary act of courage, a 41-year-old lady officer working as Talathi attached to the revenue department, single-handedly caught the driver of truck carrying illegally mined sand after a hot chase in an autorickshaw in Bhayandar on Thursday.
On sand mining inspection duty, the officer identified as Anita Pitamber Padvi and her subordinate Savita Jadhav were checking passing vehicles at the barricade point near Maxus Mall in Bhayandar (west) at around 7 am on Thursday. After impounding a sand laden truck, Jadhav accosted the vehicle and the driver to the tehsil office for further action. Padvi who continued with her inspections, spotted another truck believed to be carrying illegally mined sand at 7:45 am. She signaled the truck to stop, but the driver sped. Padvi immediately boarded an auto-rickshaw and intercepted the truck near the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose municipal ground after a brief chase. While accosting the truck to the tehsil office, the driver stopped the vehicle and started a quarrel with the officer before fleeing the spot leaving the truck behind. Padvi immediately summoned Jadhav to guard the truck and she left for the police station to seek help.
Brazen show of muscle power by the notorious sand mafia
Meanwhile, the driver returned with three people including a woman who manhandled Jadhav. The driver fled with the truck. Padvi who arrived at the spot with the police apprehended the trio who were about to flee and booked them under sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions) and 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC.
While the Bhayandar police station is conducting further investigations, the incident has yet again exposed the brazen show of muscle power by the notorious sand mafia.
Despite judicial restrictions on sand mining activities, without requisite clearances, it is business as usual for the powerful sand mafia in Thane and Palghar districts, as plundering of natural resources continues unabated in the Ghodbunder creek and other sand rich spots in the Vasai-Virar belt by using barges and boats as thousands of tonnes of sand is being illegally mined to meet the rising demand of the construction industry.