Bharuch: Following the communal clashes at Hansot village two weeks ago and subsequent resignations of around 200 BJP workers, the district administration on Tuesday initiated a massive demolition drive against illegal shrimp farming ponds in the area.
These artificial ponds are located in Aliya Bet area, 20 km from Hansot, said officials. Local BJP leaders claim that they have become dens of anti-social elements.
Resident deputy collector of Bharuch BG Prajapati said these ponds are spread over 8,000 hectares of government land.
"Today we sent three teams to Aliya Bet and have demolished at least 12 ponds so far. Our target is to demolish 1,200 ponds, all built illegally," he said.
The demolition teams were accompanied by more than 50 police personnel led by four senior officers, said assistant superintendent of police, Ankleshwar, Hitesh Joysar.
"Illegal shrimp farming is the root casue of frequent clashes in our district, as anti-social elements are getting funds from this business. As per our estimate, they are earning more than Rs 3,000 crore from these ponds every year," said BJP's Ankleshwar taluka president Naran Patel, who was among those who tendered the resignations (which were not accepted by the party).
"We are happy that the government listened to us and initiated action against them," said Patel.
Three persons died in the communal clashes at Ambetha and Hansot villages on January 14. Police have arrested more than 80 persons so far.